ROBIN WILLIAMS’ SUICIDE – HERE’S THE REAL MESSAGE

You may know that I was Director of Development NAMI Queens Nassau ten years ago and also ran a group there.  Some of my clients now are mentally ill and also see mental healthcare professionals. I am always trying to spread awareness and fight stigma against mental illness.  The piece below is the best I’ve seen written on this recent tragedy (reprinted with permission). Additionally, the Long Island Crisis Center is having a local walk:

More info & donate: http://liccwalk2014.karma411.com/

JOIN US AND BE OUR LIFE-SAVING PARTNER!

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2014
LONG BEACH BOARDWALK @ RIVERSIDE BLVD.

10:30 – ON-SITE REGISTRATION
11:00 – PROGRAM & AWARDS
11:30 – WALK BEGINS

August 14, 2014

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ SUICIDE – HERE’S THE REAL MESSAGE

So much has already been said about Robin Williams’ death by suicide that there really isn’t much left to say. While shining a light on the serious issues of substance abuse, mental illness and suicide helps to remove the stigma attached, journalists and radio and tv personalities have an obligation to their readers, viewers, etc. to report the news in a responsible way. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

I heard a dj on the radio say that he heard that the people who were close to Robin Williams are now saying that warning signs of suicide were there. The dj then went on to ask the question, “why didn’t those people get him some help?” It is public knowledge that Robin Williams was seeking help for both his addiction and his severe depression. However, “help” doesn’t fix the problem overnight or miraculously make a person feel instantaneously good again. “Help” requires hard work over a period of time. Sometimes when a person is in such a depressed state, they start to feel hopeless, which means that they don’t believe there is any hope that things will ever get better. At that point, they may decide that asking for or accepting further “help” will not do any good. They just want to do something that will end the pain.

Another problem with that question is that it implies that those closest to Robin Williams are somehow to blame for what happened. People who are bereaved by suicide feel a variety of emotions, guilt being one of the strongest ones. The truth is that none of us, no matter how much we think we matter or how influential we think we are, have enough power to cause another person to take his or her life. However, not being able to comprehend exactly what the person who died by suicide was feeling, leaves those closest to them wondering what they could have done differently to prevent the death by suicide. Questions like this only add to the guilt those bereaved by suicide already feel.

I realize that what this dj said was in no way meant to be accusatory or hurtful to those closest to Robin Williams. I bring it up simply to point out that the issue of suicide is not a simple one and our choice of words when someone dies by suicide is very important.

The most important message from this tragedy is that “help” is available. The first step is knowing when and where to find the help. A good way to begin the helping process is to reach out to Long Island Crisis Center’s 24/7 hotline at 516/679-1111. It is free, anonymous and confidential. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you’re outside the Long Island area.

There is no need to wait until you get to the point where you feel hopeless. There is no need for family or friends to feel hopeless about getting help for someone they care about.

                                                               Associate Executive Director

                                                                                                                                           Theresa Buhse     

2 thoughts on “ROBIN WILLIAMS’ SUICIDE – HERE’S THE REAL MESSAGE

  1. There is an issue of a contageon effect of suicide. I know from experience that people who-ever they are, will never know why a person pulls the trigger. Even when a suicide note is left often it just contains guilt or shame and apologies. I believe his fammily had asked for privacy while they mourn and grieve the loss of the loved one. I see many sites with his picture plastered all over it explaining why such actions happen and these actions cross over all social degrees, race, sexual preference and social economic status. No one is immuned. No one is capable of knowing why, following a suicide nearly everytime all these small red-light indicator are now neon lights. Trying to profit off such a loss is shameful. With a private practice or any practice that used a tradgedy for self-gain makes me wonder how ethical they really are. Many individuals and some company’s using the suicides of the Veterans as a chance to create charities which the Veterans or their families never saw, but thousands of dollars poured in to various charities and they had a high administration costs. I hope that people can have the conversation of suicide and mental health in general that surrounds them and their environment. I believe in empathy and grief needing time to heal. Be respectful don’t use this tradgedy as a means of personal gain.

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