Archive | August 2014

Learning from the Death of Robin Williams

2014-08-12 02.01.55

I don’t know about you but Robin Williams was always one of my favorite actors. Growing up I enjoyed watching movies, and I especially liked Aladdin, Hook, and Jumanji. It is for that reason that the death of Robin Williams caught my attention, and I know that it has been the same for others. Over the past week and half, I have seen countless Facebook statuses, and blog posts about his death. Many are looking to learn from this tragic event and it is with that in mind that I am writing. Mental illness is one of the most prevalent diseases in the US but unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to these disorders and those who have been diagnosed. Often times people fall through the cracks, and they don’t get the help they need. Sometimes, people become so distraught that they start to wrestle with suicidal ideation. Oftentimes people miss the warning signs but if we stop for a second we can figure out what the signs are. The following are lists of warning signs and risk factors for suicide:

Warning Signs

1. Preoccupation with death
this is manifested in: a. a person expressing the desire to die or kill him or herself.
b. a person actively seeking ways to kill him or herself.

2. Feelings of hopelessness

3. Feelings of being trapped or being in a desperate situation.

4. Expressing that one is a burden on others

5. Loss of interest in regular hobbies or activities

6. Withdrawal from other people

7. Feelings of anxiety, anger and/or reckless behavior

8. Insomnia or Hypersomnia- excessive sleeping, or lack of sleeping

9. Giving things away

10. A temporary feeling of relief after feeling distraught for some time- sometimes a person may feel relieved after deciding to act on his or her suicidal ideation. friends and family may believe that this individual is doing better, but that is not always that case.

Risk Factors
1. Mental disorders, more specifically
a. Mood disorders: Depression, and Bipolar Disorder
b. Schizophrenia
c. Borderline or Antisocial Personality Disorder

2. Previous suicide attempt or a history of suicidal ideation

3. Family history of attempted of completed suicide

4. Physical illness
a. either in the family
b. or in the person dealing with suicidal ideation

5. Death of loved one

6. Loss
a. of a relationship: separation, divorce, or break up of a non- married couple
b of a job
c. of financial security

7. Alcohol or drug use

8. Lack of Support

It is my hope that if we look for the risks and warning signs we may be able to prevent someone from making the decision to end his or her life. There is still so much to be learned, but if we stop and look we might be able to help someone through a seemingly impossible event, or season of life. Robin Williams is one of many people who died from the side effects of depression and hopefully, we can learn from his death. Hopefully, in time we will grow and become more self aware of one of the leading causes of death.