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Williams’ death sends message that can save lives


Aug. 20, 2014 SF Examiner

As most of America now knows, Robin Williams struggled with depression. He also battled through a history of substance abuse, heart issues and cardiac surgery. Each increases the odds of depression. Depression and bipolar illnesses underlie the risk of most suicides.

By conservative estimates, 1 in 6 Americans has lifetime depressions, bipolar illnesses or related disorders, and an astounding 75 to 80 percent of deaths by suicide can be linked with these mood disorders. The multiple underlying causes of depression must be treated more effectively if we are to lessen the scourge of suicides.

If we listen and respond, that may be a powerful farewell message from Robin Williams.

Americans confront the horrors of an estimated 40,000 suicides annually. As a nation, we question why. We lament. Here at the National Network of Depression Centers, we lament as well. We know that effective and individualized treatments are needed to resolve underlying causes of mood disorders. Sadly, as a nation or globe we have not launched adequate efforts to attain them.

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