Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What We Can Do about Depression

By Ken Duckworth, NAMI Medical Director

I am one of many who would say that Robin Williams was among my favorite actors.  His portrayal of a psychologist in Good Will Hunting is my all-time favorite. A colleague of mine told me her kids said to her last night, “Mrs. Doubtfire is dead.” They were crushed by this news which seemed so unbelievable based on their experience of the character. He was a figure that transcended generations. It was a very sad day for many, and my heart goes out to his family, who will bear the incredible pain of his death long after the news cycle ends.

I recalled that he had a history of struggles, but I was still shocked to hear that he had died by suicide. He was a genius and had many supports. But of course depression doesn’t calculate those things. Severe depression distorts rational thinking and can lead to the fixed idea that hopelessness and pain are to be your experience forever. I have heard this from patients who have lived after suicide attempts. They told me they had lost all perspective and simply wanted to end their pain. They often reported simply losing a sense that they mattered to other people and forgot that they too were loved.

Depression distorts reality and causes a risk of death. It is a persistent and serious public health crisis that doesn’t get enough coverage. It can happen to anyone and is associated with a great deal of the suicides in our country. When combined with a substance use disorder it becomes even riskier and harder to treat, and when it is part of a bipolar disorder it requires extra attention. Other public health problems like heart disease have seen great results in the past several decades—we cannot say the same about suicide.

What can we do about this public health crisis that takes so many from us?

  • Advocate. Fight for better treatments and for research into the underlying causes of psychiatric illnesses.
  • Be proactive. Work to be sure that people get screened for this depression and that help happens earlier. National Depression Screening Day is October 9.
  • Get medical. Get checked for medical causes of depression like thyroid disease.
  • Take the long view. We can encourage people to stay with treatments as some do work even after others have failed. That is well established from the STAR*D study by NIMH.
  • Integrate. Co-occurring disorders (like depression and substance use) often are poorly integrated into a persons care plan. This needs to change as substance use can be a failed self medication strategy to treat depression.
  • Change the field. We can demand more cognitive behavioral therapy, which clearly helps with depression, but many mental health professionals aren’t trained to provide it.
  • Open up. We can change the dialogue about depression—it is a condition that needs to be talked about. Isolation and silence are the dangerous traveling partners of depression.
  • Come together. Our voice is more powerful together than alone.
  • Love. Like Robin’s character in Good Will Hunting we can reach out and love those we know who are struggling and let them know we are here for them.

Chances are someone you know is struggling with depression, and this is a simple way that can make a difference.

Rest in Peace Robin. We shall all miss you.

Photo: Flickr / Eva Rinaldi

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful memorial piece for Robin Williams, and others to learn from. Thank you.

SPLITtinG vous said...

Society didn't do anything for Robin Williams when he was alive. Why is everybody so "loving and caring" now that it's too late? "He was a great entertainer" so what? You are sorry because you won't be entertained by him again? How selfish! Let people do whatever they need to do. We are not saints to try to "save" the ones that already have tried many options in life to realize that they didn't work. It's control, it's fear of us going through the same. It's not love, or it would have been shown BEFORE the tragedy. Mind your own business.

Anonymous said...

This is so helpful and beautiful, all at once. Thank you for the concrete suggestions that we can use and keep in mind with those with love who struggle with depression. Thank you NAMI and Dr. Ken.

recoverguide said...

Thanks for your article.

EwaMarie said...

If Robin Williams could not be helped, what does this say about Mental Health system? Yes, your ideas are great, but these are only ideas. In reality, those who have MI are left alone and isolated. We tried, but are still left without resources.Employment would be one of the best resources, but who and where, how?

Edith Page RN said...

OMG... now everyone wants to "talk" since it was a famous person who committed suicide. He had fame, fortune, friends and family. And we are working for what??? Obviously there's more to life that what Robin had, more to what we all think we need. How about a GOD, yes a higher power, something to look foward to after death. Eternal Life in heaven.
I pray God is merciful and help us all see more in the spiritual future, than we see in the physical now... Prayer is what we need to do now, especially for the family that is left behind.

Andrea said...

I would also add, go to see a therapist and go to the hospital immediately if your therapist tells you that it's necessary. There is no shame in that. Once your suicidal feelings lift, you can get back to living. This is spoken as someone who has Bipolar 1 and has been suicidal many times. Sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing to do, but it can save your life.

terry reinier said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for adding love to the list. It can TRULY work miracles.

Anonymous said...

robins death has reallly impacted me.I have had 2 suicide attempts,after 1 I was in a coma for 3 days,was offered no help.after the 2nd I was diagnosed as bipolar.I was 6 years sober then.now I am 39 years sober and still fight depression every day.
I am a loner and I don't believe anyone much cares if I am ok or not execpt for my youngest son.he is my angel.
I still have suicidal thoughts,some days are a lot harder than others.rest in peace robin

C G Petry said...

Excellent summary of a terrible disorder of the brain whose fundamental causes are still not fully understood..............but the cause is NOT moral weakness or inadequacy. It is a disease with physiologic causes just as surely as diabetes or hypertension are diseases.

Julie Moore said...

I haven't posted anything yet about this wonderful man's death yet. I had to let it sink in for a few days first. It really hits home, as we both suffered from the same mental illness. Many are very shocked that someone could do this to themselves. Robin didn't do this to himself, his illness did. There is a very clear distinction! As one who has walked in Robin's shoes, I look back upon some of my very dark days. As far advanced as I am in my recovery, this is something I seldom do anymore.

One such dark time....I grew up a huge FSU football fan. I have family in Indianapolis. My cousin married a Dr who graduated from Notre Dame. He got my Dad and I tickets to see the two teams play each other. My Dad flew in from SC. I drove over. We stayed the night and day tripped it to the game the following day. All I can remember was how unworthy I felt to be there. I compared my failures to their successes. While tailgating all I could feel was shame and wanting to crawl into a hole, it was all I could do to hold back the choking tears. The feeling of unworthiness was beyond overwhelming! I was certain I was being judged as a failure. This was my loving family for Christ's sake! I was participating in what should've been a very joyous and rare special occasion and a special memory in the making. My throat is swelling even now that my illness robbed me of that.

Here is the line in this article that really hit home for me..." They often reported simply losing a sense that they mattered to other people and forgot that they too were loved."
Robin Williams was in that place when his illness took that belt and strung him up to the door frame and desperately tried to end his delirious pain. Had he had the chance to look back at that moment as a passing thought rather than an action, he would've been disgusted at the thought.

Many of us with Bi-polar disease are brilliant, Salvidor Dali for instance. Manicness is a high, euphoria. We experience extreme feelings of grandiosity, our thoughts are in an uncontrollable state of warp speed. It's all we can do to keep up with ourselves. Robin had the gift of channeling this into his comedy. But as a pendulum, with every high there comes a low. We come down off of this and we crash, and we crash HARD! Many of us have made decisions during that time that we are ashamed of and would have never made in our "right mind". Our self esteem is a shambles, the shame is all consuming. We eventually level out, feel normal, until the entire cycle happens again, and again, and again. There comes a point when we just want it to stop robbing us. I took the medical route, and I took/take it very, very seriously. Robin took the "self medicating" route, hence taking the vicious cycle to a hole new level.

God bless you Robin Williams, I have no doubt that you fought the fight for a long time, before the bad guy won. RIP dear man as I curse the one that stole you away.

Anonymous said...

Great post! It's a taboo subject that desperately needs to be addressed.

Debra Jenkins said...

This is an excellent exploration of a crisis that effects the entire nation and our veterans especially. Robin loved our men and women who sacrifice daily for our nation and I am sure he grieved the losses of 22 veterans a day to this tragedy. I am sure he would also champion the need for love and community support when dealing with the demons of depression and substance abuse. What does it say about us as a nation if we isolate our citizens who are in such pain and make them feel so alone that death is their only solution? What it says to me is that we need to awaken to the need and address it immediately.

Anonymous said...

Don't take depression lightly, you can't just cheer a person up. There are, for some, things or people that may distract some of the depressed person. For me its my daughter and our dog. Those two gives me moment of duty to someone. Also, when we say we don't feel well but can't tell you where we ache, just believe us.

Robin Andrews said...

We appreciate all you are doing. You aren't just helping people, you're saving lives. Thank you to my family to all of you.

Robin Andrews said...

We appreciate all that you do. You are not just helping people, you are saving lives! Thank you from my family to all of you at NAMI!

Anonymous said...

both my wife and I have depression we both STILL do the day to day struggle we both are in therapy and on meds but there still days are ROUGH robin Williams was one of best at getting others to just sit and laugh until you where in tears from laughing his talent will be SORELY MISSED

MaryLovesJustice Neal said...

Congress must be urged to pass H.R.3717 "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act." The provisions in that bill may not have affected the outcome for Robin Williams, but the passage of that bill could help hundreds of thousands of other people who suffer from serious mental illness.

Among other things, H.R.3717 provides for resumption of Medicaid insurance for psychiatric inpatients in certain mental health facilities; a pilot program of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), which provides subsistence assistance and continuous psychiatric treatment for people at a high risk for incarceration and hospitalization and homelessness; crisis intervention team (CIT) training for police officers and corrections personnel to reduce injuries and deaths during lunacy arrests; relaxation of some HIPPA rules that would allow family members better access to information about their relatives' psychiatric records and status, including those who are imprisoned.

H.R.3717 could resolve many problems for families in mental health crisis. It would also reduce America's $80 billion/yr prison budget and improve community safety for us all.

~ Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that Ms. Moore got it right - RW was bipolar. To speak of depression, suicide and so forth is fine, but the culprit here is bipolar disorder. Have you never seen RW manic? Did he not, as Ms. Moore states, have the gift of channeling it into his comedy?

I know he did not have NAMI's holy grail of schizophrenia, but to dismiss it as depression - NAMI's "worried well" - does him and the mental health community a disservice. Think again about how you present his death.

Riley said...

What Fox News said about Robin Williams being a coward for killing himself really offended me. Calling him a coward or saying that if only he loved his family enough, he couldn’t have done it is like walking up to someone in a wheelchair or someone with cancer and saying “If you really loved your family, you wouldn’t hurt them like this.”

I said something to that effect at a NAMI educational meeting for families of people with mental illness and their mentally ill loved ones, a group that included bipolar suicide survivors like me, that such a blame game is based on the myth that bipolar suiciders are taking the easy way out rather than being in the throes of a pernicious, double-jointed disease or monster that can flip back at you at any moment and get you.

It's not as simple as keeping a tally as to one's riches, spiritual successes, and sexual conquests or however else one chooses to fill one's life.

Anonymous said...

hi my name is Elizabeth and I struggle with bipolar disorder and I was devastated over robin Williams suicide it put me into a deep depression he will be greatly missed prayers to his family I had heard that he was in early stages of parkensons disease if only he talked to Michael j fox that struggles with parkensons as well but when u are depressed u cant think logically so rest in peace robin

Terri Rimmer said...

I've been a Robin Williams since I was 12. I'm now 48. I've also suffered from depression since I was 12. So when I heard he died it hit me hard and I sunk into a deeper depression for a week, even contemplating suicide, which I'd attempted many times. I figured, Well, if he killed himself and he had everything to live for, I might as well do it.
If you have never suffered from depression, you have no inkling what it's like and you can't explain it to people.

Kirsten Kraft said...

I don't take the extreme views in this article, however as someone with Bipolar II, it is difficult to have someone just cheer me up. I don't like it when people try to do the "cheer up" thing to me. The last year has been severely difficult for me and my thoughts do turn to suicide more than I would like. It is very difficult to ask for help, but I do it. I had 9 months of therapy last year, I have had cognitive therapy in the past, I take 4 medications, and I try to remember the people that are important to me. But it isn't enough sometimes. Another scary thing was that I lost my job and without the Affordable Care Act it would have been devastating for me medicine-wise. As it is, it doesn't cover two of my medications. Even though I am working as a contractor, my current employer does not have medical insurance. Instead it has a reduced payment program. I certainly can't afford that. My thoughts are that unless a person has depression, it is difficult to get into the mind set of that person. It is difficult to know why the balance tips in one direction or another. I sometimes don't know what keeps me going, but that is my day by day battle. It is very unfortunate about Robin Williams, because he did bring a lot of happiness to people's lives.

Victoria Van Zandt said...

This is a BIG topic....first, if a person of Robin Williams wealth and fame could not get help, what does that say about the person with limited resources and understanding of mental health. I've tried calling NAMI in the past for resources and got no help. I want to be a volunteer to go into schools and speak about mental health and have received no return call about my inquires...Imagine people who are in emotional pain trying to sort out the mental health system. It is horrible.

Anonymous said...

An issue here in Denver, and around the country, is access to quality psychotherapy. I am in our citywide large mental health care provider's system. It is a vacuum for therapists that can actually treat depression. I certified into the system from Denver Health inpatient, with the sad instructions (paraphrased)"You are severely depressed, and have been for a long time. You need immediate psychotherapy, and the system you are going into is going to deny it. You will have to fight for it. I was then denied it in that system, told I didn't qualify, told I didn't need it, and when they got me what they called a "therapist", all he was was a green DBT coach, social worker, zero experience, and in a highly flawed DBT program that didn't pan out. When I finally changed sites, same thing. No therapy..I had been back in Denver Health multiple times as between apathetic case management, and no treatment for depression, I wasn't getting better. Case managers - who are young clinical social workers, not psychologists nor therapists, are writing mental health treatment plans, and are told to write psychotherapy out of treatment. Really! One of them told me so. I used to be brutally suicidal, but having the strength to get myself checked in as I really didn't want to die, I just couldn't take it anymore.There is much more to this story, including it taking from 2010 until July 2014 to get a good therapist, and that was a roll of the dice.
What are we supposed to do, when we get into excellent inpatient treatment (Denver Health, Colorado West Mental Health), and then on discharge, are denied what the very discharge recommendations from excellent psychiatrists and psychologists are. Can NAMI address this issue? I hope they recognize it and do.

Denise Funaro,RN said...

Unfortunately SPLITtinG it takes fame to bring light to certain subjects...ALS,Cancer,Heart Disease..but the stigma of suicide has kept it out of the limelight...I am greiving for Robins family as I grieve for the loss of my daughter....until you walk a mile in my shoes shut your mouth!...It's a shame it takes something like this brings this subject to light but let's something good come from this tragedy....
This is everyones business!


JaneDoe4MI said...

Mental illness is not mental! They are disorders caused by something not working correctly in the brain! We need to change the terminology! I'm a professional woman with a lengthy list of educational and professional successes to my name. However, I've also been diagnosed as having severe depression and subsequently bipolar. I've tried to take my life twice. It's very sad that Robin took his life. I know where he was that night. That horrible unforgiving dark place. I've been there myself. Maybe in a twisted way it was Robin's final gift, using his celebrity to get MI the attention it justly deserves! Peace Robin!

Anonymous said...

I care about you......i am the sister of two sisters and a brother who have the brain disorder schizophrenia. I CARE about you.

Catherine

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments Dr. Duckworth. Robin Williams was able to his gifts and humanity with the world despite the interference of a disordered inner world. Suicide is a response to the pain of that painful inner reality rather than our outer circumstances. We must do all you recommend to help protect the lives and gifts of others. We must also fight for research, development and funding of access to treatments and medications to aid people in recovery from Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, PTSD and other mental disorders.

Anonymous said...

I CARE about you.

Anonymous said...

I think people in Hollywood need a support group for them. I have been a part of a DBSA group in Memphis TN. They would be reticent to go to a typical support group because of being treated differently (famous).. AND also they would possibly be hit by Papparzi and it published all over the place that they went. They could have a site, or with today's technology someone could do a skype or google talk group. It is best if people can meet personally I think. So if they had their own group, maybe it could make a difference in someone's life. No one knows if it could have helped Robin. Possibly so. It had made a difference to me when suicidal.

cysmich said...

I believe that it's also important to recognize that severe depression can be a component of other illnesses. I didn't realize this until my husband, who has had largely well controlled epilepsy for more than 50 years, was coincidentally especially susceptible to profound depression. Any medical professional who's treating someone for one of these co-occuring conditions needs to be especially alert to this possibility. This was brought home to us when my husband's long time neurologist disagreed with the psychiatrist who had prescribed a particular medication. Their communication was important, possibly critical, to controlling both conditions.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I was not one of Robin's personal friend so I could not reach out to him in his pain. But when I look at my past I watched every show of Mork and Mindy and bought a ticket for almost every ticket. Just a couple of weeks before he committed suicide I heard him on a talk show say that he was a recovering person and due to stress he had checked himself up for a "tune up." He said that is what we people do. I smiled happy that he was so real honest and still doing well. To find out he committed suicide. We didn't do anything? He had Parkinsons. Maybe the fast thinking, fast talking, creative person could not handle not losing his neurological abilities and becoming someone else.

Gabriele Wenzelow said...

Thank you for sharing I am on Social Security disability for depression no one understands an invisible disability at work they thought I was just trying to get out of coming to work.it is very sad that people don't understand unless they suffer from the same thing how debilitating this disease is.I when I am in a crisis it feels like my mind and my body are frozen I am on able to move I lay in the bed for hours and days at a time in the fetal position.. just unable to function and unable to copeI .I try to post these articles on Facebook open to the public to make more awareness and understanding.

Anonymous said...

Your comments are rather harsh split...... America loves Robin Williams. I don't know what you mean by nobody did anything for him. Like what? Anyway this tragedy should serve as a eye opener that people with depression should be taken seriously. Unfortunately it is a long struggle for the people that have it.

Anonymous said...

Robin Williams death hit hard for me too. I'm continually fighting manic deppression and the past 10 years it seems we've gone backwards instead of forward. Intelligent and sensitive people are calling him a coward. If I advocate for him I feel I am exposing or defending myself and I'm tired of doing that all the time. Even now I sink into a depression, what else is new, and worry that the sleeping pills and other drugs are ruining my liver and/or kidneys. It's the only relief I have. Last night I had an impulse moment and got in the car and drove to my boyfriend to "catch" him with another woman because he wasn't answering his phone. I confess this to say, Help, Help, capitol Help. The shame is so bad. I feel good these days if I can clean a house and make a meal. Then I crash. Let's just say our government isn't taking care of mental health in medical. You fall thru the cracks. There is no one to talk to. Only pills, and if they don't work-take some more. Seriously. Really. Yep. Sorry for ranting. I just feel if I can't be heard here than hope must be gone.

Anonymous said...

It's a tragedy any time someone commits suicide: it doesn't matter if you are famous or not. The takeaway I got from this is to get help while you still can. And, if someone you love struggles with depression, the kindest, most loving thing to do for them is to support them in their recovery and let them know you are there for them. The other thing I realized is that people who are depressed can mask it very well, particularly if they have experience or professional training in theatrical arts. This was a beautiful, well-thought article. Robin Williams was one of my favorites, and his suicide hit a lot of us hard: not because he was famous but because he hid it so well until it was too late. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

Jurriaan Plesman said...

It is about time we look at alternative treatments for mood disorders. See: Depression is a Nutritional Disorder
http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/2011/depression-a-nutritional-disorder/

Anonymous said...

For the person who said that people don't care whether you are OK or not: There are a lot of us who DO care where you are OK. I have a son who has BP disorder and I care a lot. I have devoted my life to people with MI. I volunteer for NAMI and the International Bipolar Foundation and do tireless work because I care. I am always there for anyone who needs to talk or anything else. Maybe it seems like no one cares, but there are people who do. God Bless you!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to tell you but society did do plenty for Robin Williams! It made him a well known and respected man, this enabled him to give back to society and help the homeless. What on Gods great Earth do you think Society was responsible for in his life? He was responsible for his life and his decisions just as we all are. I believe his friends in the Hollywood community are sad and shocked because they had no idea how badly he was suffering, he had a living family but couldn't find the love through his depression. I know and understand because I feel the exact same way, I live a very lonely life despite having a family that loves me. The state I am in right now is very low and sad and so very lonely, I think of suicide but know it's not the answer simply because I don't want to hurt my children. I think suicide is a VERY selfish act.
Your lashing out doesn't make sense to me, could you explain what you think society could have done? I'm not putting you down or trying to make you sound dumb, I just don't know what you think we the public could have done.
Take care and I wish you well.
CP

Anonymous said...

I feel exactly as you describe I go days without anyone calling me sometimes weeks. I know people say it is a two way street but when I was well I kept in touch with all of my Family, I don't really have friends acquaintances yes, friends no. I have never really been good at friendship and I think it is because I don't think people like me so somewhere somehow subconsciously I emit a vibe of not being likeable or loveable. I have no other explanation for being friendless and single at the age of 51. Robins death has made me more aware of my own issues and realize I need to get back into therapy. I am on meds but I truly believe it takes hard work and both medication and therapy to get through depression. Mine has come and gone for years but this is the longest it has been bad and that is 7 years. I desperately need it to be different.
I hope you get help that is successful and God bless your Son for being your Guardian Angel
take care. <3 :)

shelbykr said...

To SPLITinG vous No system is perfect. No matter how hard we try we can't save everyone. But if we "mind our own business" we lose everyone! Please consider the fact that we in the mental health field try very hard everyday to help. No entity is perfect but we're getting better all the time.

Anonymous said...

This is where the whole problem starts with employers crazy way of thinking today. We need jobs and stop stressing out and over working the people who have jobs. So much needs to change in America.

Anonymous said...

SPLITtinG vous
I disagree with your statement, all of it! "Mind your own business". I think you should take your own advice.

Genevieve said...

This tragedy remind me of my best friend Debbie who commit suicide 4 years in the same month as Robin Williams. She had bipolar disorder. It really remind me especially when the news mention that Robin Williams had early signs of Parkinson's disease. This I knew was what might have been a big factor in this decision to give up and commit suicide. This is what happened to my friend - she was told that she will most likely have to have another surgery after a few surgeries in a year. She mention that she was just tired of it. I tried to be there to support her, but it wasn't enough. I, too, was suffering from major depression. We tried to hold each other up, but it was too enough. I still miss my best friend and moan her death. It has been 4 years.
Depression is hard to deal with at times. Today I am still going to counseling. And also I had my meds changed which helped a lot.
I just wanted to share this story and mention that the people that have depression need lots of support from everyone - friends, family, mental health professions, and the community. Be there for someone who needs our love and support.

Anonymous said...

Society DID do something for Robin. We recognized & rewarded him for his talents & skills. Robin recognized this, too. You are unable to recognize
this. Please seek a support group.

Anonymous said...

Frustrating, Frustrating, Frustrating....the system is unfortunately broken! HIPPA laws are preventing families from helping their loved ones because lawyers enacted a law such as a family member wanting to put "Aunt Agnes" (who had a lot of money) into a facility! We have family members who are in need, suffering, and perhaps not making good decisions for themselves and we are helpless and powerless until something tragic in society happens! Then we build another jail. Jails have become the new mental health facility. Where is our regard for mankind! And what do you think a mentally ill frustrated person might do after getting out of jail?! Come on people!!!! How about a good old fashioned dose of logic,
care and concern! We must protest and demand help for humankind in the United States!
We must band together and get rid of these agencies that are funded only after a homicide or suicide is about to take place. Help prevent mental health issues lets be pro-active. Protest. Protest,Protest

Leslie Schultz said...

It is so true that people don't understand mental illnesses because they seem invisible. Some comments that people have made, have been, "oh, they are lying just to get out of work and/or get disability", which is so far from the truth because mental illness IS A DISABILITY, EVEN THOUGH IT CAN'T BE SEEN IN PLAIN SIGHT!!

Anonymous said...

We care, yes we do but what will help people with depression, Bipolar Disorder, and many other illnesses isn't really available to them because they [so many] don't have what it takes, MONEY. Without money, where do they go? It is a sorry, sad situation for most of our society and the availability of money, what they need to be treated, just isn't there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we must also advocate and provide public education. The vast majority of people have never taken a course in psychology and do not know anything about mental illness - the psychiatrists sadly have never studied counseling methods or existential philosophy. A well rounded understanding of the individual and biology is needed, as well as a huge dose of compassion and effort to make a livable society for all creatures. The death of Robin Williams may galvanize others to put the topic of mental illness and coping mechanisms with stress at the forefront of public discussion, funding and increased advocacy.

Suzanne said...

I suffer depression from thyroid disease, but have responded well to medication.My mother suffered from depression. I have a niece who has committed suicide and I have one daughter who is hospitalized often for Bi-Polar disorder and Borderline Personality disorder. And, 3 other daughters and a grandson are living with varying degrees of Bi-Polar. Help is difficult to get for all as there are so many criteria to follow. We need to bring awareness and through NAMI fight for help for our loved ones. I love my family members so much' have been active in NAMI and local AMI groups. It can be so overwhelming. I am in my 70's and I wish I could do more and do as much possible for family members

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that people with drug addictions can get lots of help, while help for mental illness is barely available. I have a 37 year old son who has been struggling with bi polar depression and has tried at least four times to commit suicide. He is finally getting some help, but has been refused Medicaid and disability. What would happen to him if I didn't support him? He would be homeless and probably wind up killing himself. Why doesn't our government help people like him? We need to stand up for these people, who seem to be a forgotten part of society.

Genevieve said...

Dear Anonymous,

I got disability with Social Security. You need to appeal with them or even get an attorney. I had to try a second time before they got approved me. A friend of mine who is deceased now had to use an attorney to get his Social Security. My advice is to keep trying with them. Don't give up. They will back pay him if he keeps trying and appealing when he gets approved.
I wish you luck and good for you to be there for your son. People with depression need loved one's support to know that someone cares and loves them. This way they know that they count to someone.
Good Luck and May the Lord bless you.
Sincerely, GAW

Christy said...

This saddens us and hopefully other will take metal health and substance abuse more serious and reach out for help before its to late! I dislike the term we here in the rooms "sometime someone has to die for the rest of us to live" Thank you for posting this article!

Psycho-Schizo said...

Thank you for this wonderful post on Robin Williams. It encouraged me to come out to my friends and family about the seriousness of my condition. In addition, it helped me take my symptoms as signals that I need to be careful. My life is precious and if I forget how loved I am by others, the pain I could cause them would be more than anyone should bear.