Don’t suffer in silence

Published 11:18 am Thursday, August 14, 2014

One of America’s best-loved comedians apparently killed himself this week, showing Americans that depression, addiction and mental illness know no bounds of wealth, race or gender.

Robin Williams was found dead Monday afternoon at his home in Tiburon, Calif. The Marin County Coroner’s office said the actor who delighted audiences of all ages for more than 35 years apparently committed suicide.

By today, the headlines about Williams have begun to fade, and eventually, as with all celebrity deaths, we will begin to forget.

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Here’s why we shouldn’t let this discussion slip back into the dark corners of society.

Williams’ neighbors told The Los Angels Times that his death was a shock. After all, most people don’t understand that middle aged white men account for 70 percent of all suicides or that instances of suicide among that demographic are rising, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Also, some people who die by suicide never exhibit any warning signs.

To his neighbors, Williams was “the funny man” who joked with kids, rode a bike and walked his pug.

“It’s just so sad when depression takes someone like that,” his neighbor Kelly Cook told The Times.

Williams’ manager said he had been suffering from depression, and the comedian was well known for joking about his substance abuse

“I went to rehab in wine country, just to keep my options open,” Williams quipped in his 2009 HBO special “Weapons of Self Destruction.”

Suicide is a complex thing, and there is no way I can predict what Williams was thinking. I only know that he suffered in silence while making us all laugh.

Warren County residents don’t have to suffer as Williams did.

At any time, adults and youth of Warren County can call 601-638-0031 for help from the Warren-Yazoo Mental Health Service mobile crisis team. The 24-hour line is designed for people who are suffering from symptoms of acute emotional distress, and depending on the severity of the crisis can result in in-person help from a number of mental health professionals.

It’s by no means a shameful thing to admit you have a problem. Just never thinks that there is no one willing to help you fix it.

Josh Edwards is a reporter and can be reached by email at or by phone at 601-636-4545.