Hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death felt like we lost a favorite uncle. Then learning that his death was a result of suicide made it almost unbearable to consider. Although Williams spoke openly of his struggles with depression and alcoholism over the years, many were astonished that the perennial funnyman had long battled depression. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Depression is a disease that strikes men and women of all ages. The legendary writer, poet—and talent we lost too soon to suicide—Sylvia Plath, wrote, “The thought that I might kill myself formed in my mind coolly as a tree or a flower.” While he’ll always be remembered for the laughter he brought to the world, Williams’ greatest legacy may be the awareness his death brought to the issue of depression and suicide. With that in mind and in the spirit of prevention, let’s look at 15 facts on dealing with depression.
1. Suicide Rates Go Up in Spring While there is clear pattern of suicide rates tending to be 10 to 25% higher than the yearly average during the spring, experts are still trying to understand why this happens. It’s possible that the contrast between a person’s inner mood and the outside world is more dramatic in the spring. Bright sunshine and awakening blooms, rather than brighten the spirits, only reinforce the disharmony a depressed person feels.
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