The shocking death of actor and comedian Robin Williams has shined a spotlight on a disorder that millions of Americans suffer from and millions of others do not fully understand. Depression can be a crippling illness and many people do not know how to identify it in themselves or their loved ones.
Mental health experts are pointing to Robin William's struggle with depression as an example. Many people suffering from it might laugh and appear fine on the outside but are caught in a potentially deadly struggle on the inside.
Celebrity publicist Terrie Williams has offered some insights in an opinion piece for CNN. While she did not know Robin Williams, she is a mental health advocate who is familiar with the symptoms of depression having struggled with it herself. She says those who are suffering will do just about anything to make the pain go away.
And according to Web MD, some of the signs to look out for include, but are not limited to:
- an increase in so-called "risky behaviors" like drug and alcohol addiction,
- it can affect the way a person eats and sleeps,
- it can last for weeks, months or years,
- but treatment can help most people.
The key is getting people help. The stigma of mental health issues can make that difficult.