Williams' Death Brings Depression to Light

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email
The rate of suicides among people 45 to 64 continues to rise.

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- As people continue to mourn the loss of Robin Williams, his death is starting a conversation about depression and suicide prevention.

Suicide is a growing problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2009, more people died from suicides than from car accidents.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports the highest number of suicides in 2011 was among people 45 to 64 years old. Williams was 63.

Locally, there are several options to help people experiencing suicidal thoughts, including contacting your local community services board.

One of those options is a 24-hour hotline you can call to talk to someone. In Harrisonburg and Rockingham County the number to call is 540-434-1766. For the Augusta County area that number is 540-885-0866.

A local mental health professional said depression may not be easy to talk about.

"Folks who suffer from depression may try to hide it, or try to overcome it on their own. Sometimes that's possible and sometimes folks need serious help. They may need medications and therapy to overcome the illness. Suicide is the worst possible outcome of depression," said Ellen Harrison the Acute Services Director for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board.

Because it's a silent killer, people like Robin Williams can seem happy on the outside but be sad on the inside.

Williams' wife says she wants the focus to be on the moments of joy be brought instead of his death.

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