Robin Williams Death Sparks Depression Conversations

As emotional tributes pour in after the unexpected death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, his death is also sparking a national conversation about depression.

News of Williams passing became even more shocking after it was announced it was death by suicide because he brought some much joy to millions of fans.

However, local health experts say it's more common than you think.

Red River Hospital Director of Social Services John Salkeld says, "We always saw him when he was happy, when he was funny and this is always not the case."

Williams struggled with drugs and alcohol and battled severe depression for years and Salkeld says people reach a point where they don't want to deal with the disease anymore.

"There's a lot of times that people get that low; they feel like the family would be better off without them," Salkeld says. 

Salkeld says depression affects people of all ages in Wichita Falls.

He says, "Depression is a treatable disease. It will get better at the time that people do seek treatment."

In addition, Salkeld says, "Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. If it's treated, it will get better."

Salkeld says depression symptoms include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, irritability and loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once pleasurable.

Salkeld says there is always someone available to help.

If you feel you are fighting depression and are seeking help, you can call the Red River Hospital at (940) 322-3171.

If you are fighting thoughts of suicide, you are urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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