Robin Williams

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What I've Learned After a Decade of Researching Suicide

The death of comedian Robin Williams last month sparked a worldwide discussion about suicide, its underlying causes and how it might be prevented. And, with World Suicide Prevention Day taking place Sept. 10, the subject is certain to generate more debate as people seek to understand this important health issue. Having spent 10 years researching the subject while working as a professor of psychiatry, I believe there are things we can do as a community to tackle this problem. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to reflect on what researchers have learned over the years about strategies for preventing suicide.
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Why I'm Willing to Pay More Taxes for Mental Health Services

In Canada, I quickly realized, depression is one of the only life-threatening illnesses that you have to be rich to get proper treatment for. Since 1961, Canadians have taken care of our neighbours, our family, and our friends if they have illnesses like heart disease, or diabetes. But if they're suicidal or depressed? We've basically said tough luck -- deal with it yourself. This while more people are actually suffer from mental health issues each year then heart disease and diabetes combined.
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People Are Defined By How They Lived, Not How They Died

On March 11, 2001, a woman named April died by suicide. Her friend Jenn was the one who found her. It was an extremely traumatic event in Jenn's life. It transformed her entire world. Let's encourage others to have careful and candid conversations about suicide. For Jenn's family, suicide exists at the dinner table and at every family gathering, because there's always an empty chair. But most families are not having these conversations.
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The Love of Your Children Can't Always Save You From Depression

I read Zelda Williams's tribute to her dad. I could barely focus on the accolades because my mind zeroed in on the few words "While I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay..." Because that's the bottom line. His children loved him deeply, and he loved them, and yet, all that love was insufficient to keep him here...Or rather, the pain was just too much. That scares me.

I Think About Suicide Every Day, Even Though I'm Getting Help

I understand why people kill themselves. I think about it every day. That's not an exaggeration. It varies how much I think about it each day, but there hasn't been a day in the last six months that I haven't thought about it, and it's been this way since I was about 10. Very very occasionally I get a day where I'm struggling really bad, but I don't want to be dead. But it's not often.
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That Funny Person You Know Could Be Dying Inside

I cried a lot, and slept when I could, and felt like shit. I can't even tell you how shitty I felt because there's actually no way to articulate it. I didn't want to die, but I felt like I was completely out of control, because I was, and that shit is scary. And of course, no one knew. I told no one. I acted fine, just like I still do, because I don't really like to talk about this kind of shit. Those emotions have been catalogued and put away.
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When The Laughter Dies

So many laughs and images are conjured in my mind when I think of Robin Williams. Whether he was shouting "Good Morning Vietnam" or giving a whole new image to cross dressing as Ms. Doubtfire, Robin W...