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Does the Robin Williams Tragedy Make You Think About Suicide?

The death of the great comedian Robin Williams sheds light on a very delicate topic: suicide. I have firsthand professional experience with this.

A number of years ago a client committed suicide. She was also a personal friend, and that made her loss much more difficult to deal with. Her husband was a friend as well, and I literally held his hand through the claim process. It was very hard on both of us.

There was no doubt she had been suffering from depression, or another severe disorder. It was apparently a very extreme situation: she went from feeling blue, to feeling very dark, very quickly. She gave absolutely no indication that things were this bad until she pulled the trigger.

The life insurance benefit was paid without a hitch. The event took place well after the suicide clause would have applied. But getting the money was the easy part, of course; the tough part was the challenge facing a young widower and his young children. They are, thankfully, doing well.

What can we learn from tragedies like this? A lot. Psychologist Bill Knaus, Ed.D. gives us some pointers in his Psychology Today article. Here is one that makes sense to me:

Suicide is a highly preventable cause of death. For example, effectively addressing hopeless and helplessness thinking is a promising path to suicide prevention.

Read Bill’s article. Does it help you understand Robin a bit more?