The news of Robin Williams’ suicide was shocking and saddening to all. He provided resiliency for millions with his wit and humor. His creative genius, intense energy, warm spirit and brilliantly portrayed roles in many of our most beloved films and shows make this a loss felt deeply and perhaps more of a mystery.
Much of the online chatter following the news focused on one question, “Why?” How could someone, by all appearances, who has much to live for and blessed with intelligence, resources and family, have chosen to end his own life? How can we make sense of it?
Suicide is a killer from the inside out. It’s mostly invisible and very hard to detect without fearless scrutiny from others and a relentless survival instinct within those at risk.
Somehow Robin Williams lost the light, the brightness of hope and meaning. It can be difficult for someone to share that advancing darkness. Often, rugged individualism overestimates our resolve or the vulnerability tastes like weakness, and concealment preserves a pride. For men in Robin Williams’ demographic it can be a trial. Perception determines the verdict. And a choice becomes an irreversible decision.
We aspire to make suicide preventable. With this tragedy, the public conversation rises. It can begin with the shock and sadness, and it must move to the explanation that depression can be overcome. Suicide does not have to be an end, but a discoverable choice that starts a conversation, the connecting place to hope and recovery.
Help is available. Here are some resources where you or someone you love can get started on a journey toward recovery:
- General information on suicide prevention, visit the WellPower’s Suicide Prevention Information Page
- Help for working aged men (ages 25-54) to talk about their problems, visit ManTherapy
- Suicide prevention programs and support, visit Carson J Spencer Foundation
- Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches how to identify and understand a person who is in a mental health crisis and how to get them the help they need. To find a Mental Health First Aid class, visit the Mental Health First Aid Colorado