It seems incomprehensible that a man who spent his life making others happy would himself be dealing with deep sadness.
But Robin Williams is just one of almost 39,000 Americans who take their own lives each year. Two years ago, suicide became the leading cause of death by injury in the United States, surpassing car accidents, and 50% more people die each year by suicide than by homicide. While there have been improvements in attitudes toward mental illness, social stigma and lack of real understanding still remain. Perhaps the tragic news about Robin Williams will lead to larger conversations about becoming aware of mental health issues, recognizing and treating mental illness, and learning the warning signs and effective interventions to prevent suicide. Experts believe that most individuals contemplating suicide don’t want to die; they just want to end their pain. Lives can be saved when suicidal risk or intent is detected early.
National Suicide Prevention Week is an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide. This year it occurs from Sept. 8-13 and the theme is “Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.” The focus is on raising awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death on a global scale, as suicide claims one million lives per year worldwide. By drawing attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the national campaign also strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance and support people who have attempted suicide.
In Clermont County, the Suicide Prevention Coalition will host its 13th annual Candlelight Vigil from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Union Township Veterans Memorial Park, at the corner of Clough Pike and Glen Este-Withamsville Road. The vigil is held to remember and honor the lives of those individuals lost to suicide in our county over the past year. Anyone whose life has been touched by suicide is welcome to attend.
For more information, contact the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board at 732-5400 (www.ccmhrb.org).