The recent suicide of actor comedian Robin Williams came as a complete shock to most of us.
The details were sad and sobering... but even though a celebrity death is undeniably news, the real focus needs to be on the availability and benefits of treatment for depression.
Good outcomes can result and maybe even lives can be saved if we become more open about the fact that depression is common - and treatable.
That's the message from mental health advocates who say calls to suicide hotlines jumped more than 20 percent in the days following Williams' death.
Depression touches many lives in the family of a depressed person. But the ripple effect of fear, misunderstandings and hopelessness can be reversed, because help is out there.
If you know someone who is depressed, talk to them about it.
Offer your help and make sure to follow through to confirm they see a medical professional.
The legacy Robin Williams leaves behind is more than his classic comedy performances and Oscar-winning talent.
His death should be a catalyst to change the way we look at mental illness, with less embarrassment and stigma and more empathy and determination to get help for the ones we love.
WTVM Editorial Committee
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