It is always uncomfortably ironic when the death of a celebrity actually helps us focus on an issue usually too easy to ignore. But as sad and tragic as the death of the popular and respected comic genius Robin Williams is it is also an invaluable insight into depression and suicide.
Both depression and suicide are topics too often avoided out of misunderstanding and discomfort. Which only makes dealing with them worse. Silence can deter someone from getting the help they need, help that can mean treatment of mental illness and prevention of suicide. But our lack of knowledge and wisdom has contributed to the stigma attached to mental illness and that stigma is a significant barrier to getting help.
It is our hope that the star that was Robin Williams will continue to shine light on these important topics, and that we learn and most importantly talk about depression and suicide in ways that his death have now sadly made possible.