The Blog

The Sad Truth Behind Robin William's Suicide

It still saddens me to hear about the sad, sad loss of a much loved actor, Robin Williams. Robin contributed much effort and passion towards acting, Mrs. Doubtfire is a perfect example to show that, he brought comedy and showed us how to appreciate family much more in this show. It really shocked me and many others I am sure, that Robin had been fighting depression for many years and it wasn't until his suicide, that this was really made public knowledge. Of course, sometimes, not going public with an illness is for the best, but I wish he had got the help and support he may have so badly needed. I am not saying that his family were not supportive, I imagine they were terrific, but maybe if he got access to counselling much quicker, he may still be around today? Depression is such a hard topic to understand, I have depression and some people understand and appreciate the challenges it can contribute in my life, whereas others don't care for it and in turn, don't bother with me. I guess that's their problem, rather than mine. You see, everyone with depression has different effects, some may be sad and have trouble socialising, whereas others may act that they are happy but deep down, they are not; they are hurting badly.

Robin Williams takes on the role of the legend, Mrs.Doubtfire

Challenges that depression contribute make it ever so hard to deal with the world. People can seem like problems, depression can affect a way a person trusts and socialises, because they would rather be alone and have their own company than others. So when I read that Robin Williams was being slated by certain press, I was disgusted and shocked at their little understanding and knowledge of depression and Mental Health as a whole. The Sun's coverage of Robin's suicide was horrific, where was the respect in that? They certainly did not show compassion or support to his thousands of fans or to Robin for battling an illness for many years secretly. How is this supporting those with depression and thinking about suicide? We are being branded by press unfairly and Robin's memory certainly doesn't deserve to be treated like this. Illnesses affect many of us, some of us have disabilities, some have short-term to long-term illnesses and some of us have mental health for our lives, so why criticise and devalue anyone with an illness? They shouldn't be allowed to do this, tougher regulations are needed to stop the press being so cold.

I found this interesting piece, with also shows why what the press did was distressing and wrong.

Robin Williams' death was a tragedy that saddened millions including myself. The fact that he committed suicide adds poignancy to the loss suffered by his family and his viewers and fans. The flagging up by the media of his perceived problems including depression, past addictions and present money issues could conceivably be helpful if they led to a discussion of how such issues - common to a much wider community than only the rich and famous - might be overcome. This would be reporting news, but with a social purpose also in mind, and newspapers exercising some social responsibility.

However, the details of how he carried out his suicide reported in a lurid manner - sometimes in bulletpoint headlines - by papers such as the Sun, the Mirror, and the Mail are of no positive benefit to anyone. They also run the risk of bringing about copycat actions by individuals who perhaps may feel seriously depressed or have mental health issues. At worst this might bring them to act in a similar way in the belief that this could bring about a personal association with their former on-screen hero.

The disappointing fact is that there do exist very clear guidelines produced by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and even by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) which outline acceptable ways of covering suicide in the press. According to the NUJ: "Reporting suicide carries a responsibility for writers and editors in regard to the most vulnerable and exposed members of society. It is essential to understand the serious implications that the language we use can have on those affected." The PCC says: "When reporting suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail about the method used." The PCC even goes on to state that exceptions should be made only if it can be shown that matters of overriding 'public interest' are at stake.

Depression affects many of us during different stages in our lives, be it childhood -adulthood, often depression doesn't just go away and many people who contact me through my website- have experience depression for years and it isn't as simple as "just going away" like some many say. This lack of understanding should be fixed, the understanding is needed, schools should teach about Mental Health, people should bother to understand it more, it isn't our way of living, it's an illness and one so many of us have to live with.

The facts and figures around Mental Health in the UK are alarming.

• 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year

• Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain

• Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men

• About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time

• Depression affects 1 in 5 older people

• Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women

• Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population

• Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder

I for one will miss Robin Williams, what he contributed towards our televisions and our lives was great, how many people can say they made a difference? He certainly did and it was just sad that the only way out he saw was suicide, may he Rest in Peace and be remembered for what he did, rather than what his sad suicide.