Why We Need To Erase The Stigma Attached To Mental Illness

Depression: The Silent Killer

I am fully aware that everyone is talking about Robin Williams.

How can we not?

He was only 63 and made so many lives better, happier, joyful. Yet today we are mourning his loss. He will no longer grace us with his laughter or antics like those in Mrs. Doubtfire. He will no longer be making us laugh, unless we are watching re-runs of Mork and Mindy or the ever wonderful Disney character, Genie. As The Academy wrote after his passing: "Genie, you're free."

I am saddened and shocked by his death, and although I was never able to meet him in person, he graced my screen on more than one occasion and made me laugh more times than I can count.

What I am really sad about is the fact that this didn't need to happen.

It is another senseless death caused by a killer that we all know, yet choose to ignore. Depression affects so manyaccording to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20% of all Canadians will be personally affected by it at some point in their lives and it is estimated by the World Health Organization that 350 million people suffer with it worldwide. That is staggering.

We need to erase the stigma attached to depression.

Those suffering need to feel there is help and hope. The struggles don't need to be theirs alone.

Depression is a horrible sickness that can hit any walk of life. No amount of money or fame can shelter you from this disease. It is sad that a man who brought such happiness to many could be battling such demons that he felt the only way out was to take his own life. This is actually quite a common thought process for those suffering. According to WHO, depression leads to a million deaths a year. That is a huge eye-opener for meit should be for any of us.

Although I only suffered with a small bout of depression just before my marriage ended, I do know many who suffer regularly. My ex-husband still battles with it everyday. Some days he can function like any of us, and others he cannot. He can take the medication that can help with his depression, but then it also makes him feel nothing. He says he can't feel happiness or sadness, wonder, or joy. So where does that leave him? Feeling more depressed and alone.

I can only hope that the tragedy of Robin Williams' passing can truly bring this disease to the forefront. More people need to know, need to help. If someone you know is suffering, choose to help. Most times they don't feel like they need help or even want it, but keep trying. We all need to be more understanding, less judgmental.

All I can say is, I hope you rest in peace, Mr. Williams, for at least you deserve that.

If you or someone you know suffers from depression, please use the links below to find help. Please don't let this silent killer take someone you love or care about. If you suffer, get helpyou are not weak and there is hope.

Canadian Mental Health Association
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Follow the hashtag #EndTheSilence on twitter for chats and information, as well.

In Memoriam: Robin Williams

How Do You Know If You're Depressed?

Decoding Teenage Depression

Jessica writes over at 4 The Love of Mommy, a blog dedicated to amusing stories of everyday life in the home of a large family by today's standards. The joy of raising a happy, healthy boat load of kids and the fun tips, tricks and smiles we have along the way. There is nothing better than the sound of laughter even after the milk spills.