How shocked we all were when we heard of Robin Williams’ passing. I liked what I heard Keith Ablow, MD, say on the news: while depression is a common malady and can be fatal, with education and awareness there is great hope. He went on to say that psychotherapy is the “gold standard” of treatment and that there are many medications which can be helpful. There are even novel medical treatments which are very promising for treatment-resistant depression and mood disorders.
We need to be talking about the signs of depression such as sadness, appetite and sleep disturbances, loss of interest in usual pleasures and other changes. We need to overcome the stigma of having depression by speaking out about it. Resources such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) are free for the person suffering from the illness and the families suffering with him or her.
Often the family physician or clergyman is the first to hear of a person suffering from depression. They assess and refer to mental health professionals, such as psychologists, as they prescibe helpful medications. It is important to treat depression and other mood disorders when they are detected because of the damage to relationships, work functioning and of course the person’s health and or life that can occur.
There is hope. We must take advantage of our loss of a favorite celebrity to speak to others about this subject and what can be done about it. Sharing on this blog, for example is my way of doing that. As others respond to this post, we can create a valuable discussion about the subject that others, from the comfort and safety of their personal computers and devices, may benefit from in amazing ways.