Help for Depression + Actions in Memory of Robin Williams

by dena on August 16, 2014

Obviously, there are many discussions and writings and reminiscences in recent days about Robin Williams. Most of us never met him, yet we are profoundly saddened by his death, by a world where he is no longer physically present. We feel loss, maybe even lost.

The generous and talented man who brought light to our lives through each of his performances was someone struggling with darkness and pain.

Do you imagine he might wish for people with depression to find help, and for people whose lives have been affected by loved ones’ suicides to receive the support they need?

What better way can we honor the life of Robin Williams than to connect people with resources that offer hope and healing? As well, we can make donations to charities in his memory. (More on this topic appears below, under How Each of Us Can Help.)

This post is not based solely on my thirty years as a psychotherapist. I have included and linked to up-to-date information from respected resources about the topics of depression and suicide.

 

face_concerned_free pic Basic Facts on Depression The following information is quoted directly from the MayoClinic.org site. Please refer to this link for further information about Symptoms in Children or Teens, Symptoms in Older Adults, and Types of Depression.

(Regarding people who experience depression) – “Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

“For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.”

 

From Articles: Why am I depressed? & What causes depression?

In an article from Harvard Medical School, What causes depression, we are shown the areas of the brain that are affected by depression and information on the complexities of chemical imbalances that happen when we are depressed. Also, genetic research shows some of us have inherited tendencies toward low moods and in how our bodies respond to various medications.

On the health.com site is an interesting article, Why am I depressed, with a list of potential causes of depression. Triggers we may already know about include unemployment, grief, trauma, financial troubles, and S.A.D./seasonal affective disorder (less hours of sunlight during winter). Please note this important comment, “there may not be a concrete reason for your depression.” Then, 12 less well known, even surprising, triggers to depressive episodes are presented for us to consider. Summer weather, thyroid disease, smoking, and poor sleep habits begin the list of 12. Read on.

 

When to See a Doctor  If you are feeling depressed, if you are having some of the symptoms listed above, it is important to schedule an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible. Depression tends to get worse when it is left untreated. This can lead to even more misery – with more physical and mental health troubles or difficulties in other areas of life. Also – feelings of depression can lead to thoughts of suicide and to actual suicide. If you find that you feel reluctant about seeking treatment, PLEASE talk to SOMEONE YOU TRUST about how you are feeling – a friend or a loved one, a health care professional, a co-worker, a faith leader, a teacher. Describe how you are feeling and that you are uneasy about contacting a doctor or other medical professional.

 

If There Are Thoughts of Suicide If you or someone you know is having any thoughts about suicide, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY. These are steps you can take right away:

  • Contact a friend or loved one.
  • Call a spiritual leader or a member of your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (= 800-273-8255). You will reach a trained counselor there. To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, call the same number and press 1.
  • Make an appointment ASAP with a doctor or other health care provider or mental health provider.

 

When to Get Emergency Help * * * If you think you might hurt yourself or attempt suicide, dial 911 or whatever your local emergency number is right away. * * * If a loved one seems in danger of committing suicide or has just made a suicide attempt, be sure you or someone else stays with the person. Call 911 or the emergency number for your location immediately. Or, if you feel it is possible to do so safely, take him or her to the nearest medical emergency room.

 

Hotline Support

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. – 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For the Veterans Crisis Line, dial the same number and press 1.

There are many local hotlines as well. Wherever you live, please look up a hotline number now and keep it where you can access it easily and quickly.

 

Support for Surviving a Loved One’s Suicide

The following are some of the organizations and other resources that offer support for those who have lost loved ones through suicide.

  • a book – Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing, by Sharon Strouse, who found herself using her own background as an art therapist as she struggled along her journey of healing beyond her daughter’s suicide.

 

How Each of Us Can Help

* If you suspect you or someone in your life might have clinical depression, please review what is in 3 of the above sections, When to See a Doctor, If There Are Thoughts of Suicide, and When to Get Emergency Help. 

* Make a tax deductible contribution to a charity of your choice in memory of Robin Williams. Maybe you will select one that provides services to those with depression or whose lives have been touched by suicide.

 

I am choosing to make a donation to the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation. A friend of mine and her family founded this organization after her daughter committed suicide. KRSF is a non-profit that contributes funding for programs that provide:

  • methods of suicide prevention
  • recognition of warning signs of potential suicide
  • understanding of mental health issues associated with suicidal thoughts and actions
  • resources for universities and high schools
  • supportive and healing programs for those whose loved ones have committed suicide.

 

There have been countless stories shared about the ways Robin Williams made a difference in the lives of his family, his friends, his fans, and for military men and women who saw his USO performances overseas. We have a chance to continue his legacy of warm-heartedness by making a difference in the world through promoting help for depression. Please share through social media the helpful articles you find on increasing awareness of the truth re: depression and suicide. Thank you.

Blissings, Dena

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5 comments
Marci Kranz
Marci Kranz

You obviously took some quality time to put together this rich resource of information on a difficult topic. Thank you for doing so. Namaste, Marci

Sharon
Sharon

This is such a great resource Dena. Thanks for posting it.

Pat
Pat

Thank you Dena. I have a close family member with bi-polar disorder. After his diagnosis and medical treatment he shared that he had frequently considered ending his life. This is a well written and compassionate post.

dena
dena

Marci, thank you. The research and adding in all the links took longer than most of my posts. It was, as the saying goes, a labor of love. Blissings, ~ Dena

dena
dena

Thank you, Sharon, I appreciate your supportive message. Blissings, ~ Dena

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