MHA-NYC Responds to the Death of Robin Williams
Suicide is most often a preventable tragedy. By getting help and finding support, it is possible for people to get through these difficult moments. Many who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental illness, and many show signs of depression. For most people, mental illnesses are treatable and manageable. Having access to timely and appropriate mental health care and community supports give individuals and families hope for an emotionally healthy future.
If you or someone you love is struggling with feelings of distress, don’t wait – call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is a free, confidential service, accessible 24/7 to people anywhere in the United States.
We can all do something to help prevent suicide and keep our loved ones safe. Be aware of situations that can increase the risk of suicide, such as difficult life events, the loss of a significant relationship, changes in health or financial status and events that may cause feelings of shame, humiliation or despair.
Other risk factors include the following:
- Transitions after discharge from psychiatric emergency and inpatient settings
- Lack of social supports and sense of isolation
- Stigma associated with seeking help
- Reduced access to health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)
For a full list of suicide risk factors, please visit this section on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Warning signs are not always easy to spot, but could include behaviors such as:
- Speaking about wanting to die, or wishing they were dead
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Difficulty sleeping
- Agitation or restlessness
- Feeling alone or like a burden to others
- Becoming more socially withdrawn
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities that were once pleasurable.
You can take action to help prevent suicide. Let the person you are concerned about know that you care about them, and ask directly if they are thinking about or are planning suicide. Know that asking directly does not encourage suicide, but rather gives the person permission to talk about their thoughts with someone who cares. Listen to what they have to say and offer to help them get the support they need. Go with them to a physician or a mental health clinician, and contact trusted people that they feel can support them during their time of crisis.
And remember, if you are struggling with difficult emotions yourself, call the Lifeline – we’re here to help you, 24/7. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).