Robin Williams’ Death Reminds Us of Importance of Suicide Awareness in North Carolina
The world lost a comedic genius this week when actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away at age 63 due to apparent suicide. As his family, the Hollywood community and fans across the world mourn the loss of one of comedy’s most brilliant legends, his death also brings to light the harsh reality of depression and the effects it may have on its victims.
The death of Williams comes as both a devastation and a shock to those he left behind — whether he knew them personally or connected with them through the many faces of his characters. A seemingly happy and funny man on the exterior, according to those close to him, Williams had battled depression and substance abuse for years. Beyond a smile that was contagious to generations of fans, Williams struggled with issues that no amount of comedy could cure. Though he had sought help in the last few months of his life, he unfortunately lost his battle. Williams’ death is living proof that depression and mental illness don’t discriminate. Even celebrities, who on the surface appear to have it all, are not immune to troubles.
Depression and suicide affect the lives of people around the world every day. Whether a survivor of attempted suicide, or family or friend of a suicide victim, many people are no stranger to this tragedy. In fact, according to Triangle Coalition for Suicide Prevention in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, “It is estimated that 20% of families have experienced a suicide and 60% of individuals personally know someone who has completed a suicide.” We have outlined a few more statistics around suicide in North Carolina, and the United States, below:
- According to www.suicide.org, on average, one suicide occurs every 17 minutes in the United States.
- There are approximately 750,000 suicide attempts in the United States each year, and an estimated 5 million living Americans have attempted suicide.
- According to the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, suicide was among the ten leading causes of death for all persons ages 5-64, for males, and for whites in both North Carolina and the US from 1997-2001.
- Between 1997 and 2001 at least 24,280 North Carolinians injured themselves or ended their lives.
The death of Robin Williams is heartbreaking, but we can only hope that it will help shed light and awareness on the often stigmatized topic of mental illness. Hopefully those suffering will find solace in knowing that they’re not alone, and that it’s ok to ask for help. At the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood in Cary, NC we encourage those who may be battling depression, or know somebody who is, to reach out. Whether you need help, or need to seek help for someone close to you, there are many anonymous resources out there to provide support, comfort and advice for those going through a difficult time.
Local and National Suicide Resources
Triangle Coalition for Suicide Prevention
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Teen Health and Wellness
24 Hour Crisis Line
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