The tragic passing of Robin Williams brings to the forefront an issue that millions of Americans struggle with each and every day. Depression is an illness that does not discriminate. It affects celebrities and regular people alike. And sometimes it has deadly consequences, as we saw first hand yesterday.
Robin Williams suicide came as a shock to the world, but his deep depression and substance abuse was something he talked about at length throughout his many years of battling the dual illnesses. He often talked of the shame he felt for being an addict and his constant struggles with drugs and alcohol. He elaborated at length on his relapse during an interview
with Marc Maron back in 2010 and couldn't have encapsulated the feelings of countless people when he said his drug use was based off of "trying to fill the hole. It's fear."
Williams also discussed the shame he felt about relapsing in an interview with The Guardian
in 2010, saying that "you do stuff that causes disgust, and that's hard to recover from. You can say, 'I forgive you' and all that stuff, but it's not the same as recovering from it.” His willingness to openly discuss his demons and struggles throughout life was an inspiration for many people at the time and continues to be to this day.
Mental health illness is something that affects millions of people in this country, yet it is something that is so often taboo to talk about. The shame people feel often overwhelms them and prevents them from being able to openly discuss the pain and suffering they are going through. Twenty percent of Americans are currently struggling with a mental health issue, but that number is expected to reach upwards of fifty percent in the next decade. How we address this as a nation will be one of the greatest challenges we have ever faced.
If you are struggling with addiction or depression, it is important to know that there is plenty of help out there. Every person is different and will need to approach their recovery in a way that is uniquely suitable for them.
If you are someone who thrives in group settings then maybe you can consider joining a support group
. There is a support group for nearly every ailment out there and many people like the concept of having numerous people there who can understand your pain and be there to support you in your recovery.
For those of you who are not comfortable speaking in groups then maybe you can consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor. One of the biggest misconceptions about this route is that it is too expensive and only available for people who have enough money to pay for services. It is true that many therapists charge upwards of 100 dollars an hour, but many will work on a sliding scale and accept what you are able to pay. You can search for low-cost therapy at the Health Resources and Service Administration
's website. They are a part of the Department of Health and Human Services and provide a web portal for you to search for a low-cost provider in your area.
Another issue that prevents many individuals from seeking treatment is the fact that it is difficult to obtain services if you live in areas of the country that are outside of major population centers. Many health professionals are finally beginning to address this problem and are now offering therapy via webcam or telephone
These are just a few options available for those individuals who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and a host of other mental health problems. It is important to know that you are not alone and that there are plenty of professionals out there who want to be there to help you.
The passing of Robin Williams is a tragedy that is difficult to process. He was a phenomenal actor, comedian, and person. He made millions upon millions of people laugh and cry and he will be truly missed.
Contact information for those seeking help for themselves or for a loved one:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Alcohol/Drug Abuse Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP
Support Group Website: www.mentalhealthamerica.net/find-affiliate
Low-Cost Therapy Website: findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx?byCounty=1