Robin Williams' suicide has put a spotlight on depression and suicide

Robin Williams' suicide has put a spotlight on depression and suicide
Robin Williams (Source: PBS/MGN Online)
Robin Williams (Source: PBS/MGN Online)

It wasn't one of his more popular movies but has now become very ironic. In the 2009 film "World's Best Dad" Robin Williams plays a father who's high school son commits suicide. He then makes it his crusade to speak out against it at one point delivering the line, "If you're that depressed, reach out to someone. And remember: suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems."

Jim Overholser is a Psychology Professor with Case Western University who's studied suicide and depression for 30 years.

"Usually when I talk about suicide risk, the combination of depression and hopelessness become deadly when they are together," Overholser explained to 19 Action News Reporter Dan DeRoos.

According to Williams' representative he had been battling severe depression lately and at one point this summer checked into rehab for a recurring substance abuse problem that he was very open about.

"I think you've got to keep the hope alive. To me hopelessness is the biggest risk factor. Things might be bad, I might feel depressed but if I start to believe that my future will not get better that's when I'm likely to turn to suicide," Overholser said about suicide.

While we use this time to remember a brilliant man who gave us so much also use it as a chance to get help if you need it.

"Make a phone call. Tell someone that you need help and do what it takes to start moving in a positive direction," said Overholser.

The Cleveland Clinic, who performed a heart surgery on Williams, issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, and our sympathy is with his family. We thank Robin and his family for their generous support of Cleveland Clinic."

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