Dr Scott B. McCabe

Robin Williams – What happened?
On August 11, 2014 Robin Williams committed suicide.  Why would a person who is successful, creative, and appears to have all the opportunities before him, do such a thing?  Depression can overwhelm anyone, regardless of how successful they become.  He was very aware of his mental illness and addictions and even sought help.  But in that very moment when everything seems the darkest, the depression creeps in and suicide seems to be the only answer. Unfortunately, such desperation leads to inability to generate new alternatives, or just get through the next day, making that momentary decision permanent.  Robin Williams has given depression and suicide a ‘face.’  Unfortunately, there have been too many ‘faces’ before him.  According to a CTVnews factsheet published Oct. 2011 Canadians average 10 suicides a day. Sometimes it is a celebrity, but likely it was the person you worked with, the person you lived beside, or even the person you loved.   As health care providers we need to see the ‘faces’ to help.   As the person who knows someone, you need to ask the hard questions and get them to seek help. Asking the question doesn’t hurt or make someone more likely to attempt suicide, not asking the question does!  Contact a local hospital, KidsHelp Line, call 911 if the threat is imminent.  Together people can change the face of depression to be the face of triumph over depression.

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Dr. Scott B. McCabe
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July 7, 2017
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