Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mental Illness, Suicide and Change: Helping Kids Cope and Beyond #RobinWilliams

Thanks for all you have given us. We've learned so much from you. Let us continue
to learn more about the human condition through your death. Here's to a future with less
stigma and more treatment. Let us vow to do it differently for those left behind.
Here's to life.

Heavy Hearts

The world has a heavier heart today, with the tragic passing of the genius that was Robin Williams.  I first learned of his death through my teens.  And they wanted to know WHY.  Indeed.  It's a question we all ask.  Every time there is a loss such as this. 

Fighting Demons/Mental Illness

We knew he was fighting demons, as so many do on a daily basis.  The face of mental illness is real and varied.  It knows no bounds.  And while the media is currently highlighting the brilliance that was Robin Williams, I hope they also use their platform to educate and assist the masses on mental illness, as well as provide information about treatment and the road to recovery.  I have worked with many suicidal individuals across my career.  Sadly, I have also worked with families reeling from a loss due to suicide, with first responders/rescue workers and with children who have lost parents much too soon.  

Stop the Stigma

While the loss of Robin Williams has us standing still in our tracks, and we give a collective gasp over this tragedy...there are hundreds of thousands of people suffering right NOW.  There are many, many people considering suicide right NOW.  There are many families who will be notified that their loved one completed a suicide TODAY. 

Let us remember Robin Williams for the genius he was...he made us laugh, he made us cry.  He made us FEEL.  And in the end, it was his own feelings that became insurmountable, overwhelming, unbearable.  The pain was simply too great.  Let's work together to make sure those left behind have more options, more treatment, more acceptance.  Let's work towards less stigma, less judgment, less gossip.  Let's see mental illness as the health epidemic it is. Speak up, take a stand.  Won't you join me? Together we can make a difference.  Little by little.  It's the only way.

Here are some resources for dealing with suicide:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

HelpGuide.org

Here are some of our past posts on helping kids deal with suicide and grief:

8 Ways to Help with the Suicide of a Parent

Grief Solutions for Kids

Teen Grief Relief

What you can do:

If you have a twitter, facebook or pinterest account, you can share this post, or any other one like it...or tweet something like this:

Dear #ABC #CBS #NBC Please use your platform to help educate and inform the world about #mentalillness #depression #suicide Pls RT #RIPRobinWilliams

Just do SOMETHING.

In sadness, but with an eye towards hope,

Wendy

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