Today, I’m going to take a moment to share some non-political thoughts regarding an important topic that has become central focus in the last day or so. Legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams was found dead yesterday in an apparent suicide, leading to mourning and sadness across social media. He was more than just a comedian and actor, though, as he was also a selfless volunteer who gave back to various causes.
At the heart of everything, he was a human being.
While many mourn, some have moved to criticize Robin Williams for committing suicide. This reflects a significant depth of ignorance regarding the act of suicide and the effect depression has on a human being.
Suicide is selfish, because it is a final act that is made without regard for those who will be affected by it. But does this make them a bad person? Certainly not.
Suicide philosophy could be debated for hours, but while we do so, more people will die by their own hand. Thousands of people more will take their own life by Christmas this year. This number will be a diverse group from young children who struggle with playground bullying to combat veterans who struggle to tackle the psychological impact of their service.
Discussion about suicide thus should be about prevention, not philosophy. Whether it is right or not is irrelevant, because it has happened and will continue to happen.
All life is precious. Society struggles now more than ever to realize this given the polarizing environment that rules all areas of life, political and non-political. Constant conflicts grip our lives. As a result, people fall through the cracks and lives become lost. But on a planet with six billion people, nobody should feel alone.
If you are in a dark place, do not remain in that lonely corner. Seek help. It is not weak to admit a problem, but instead a show of strength to confront the issue.
If you know someone in a dark place, do not let them remain without light. Offer help. We’re all in this crazy thing called life together.
If there is one thing we must take away from the tragic loss of Robin Williams, it is that this is not the first instance of suicide and it will not be the last. It is not the first this year, month, or even week. And sadly, it will not be the last.
Suicide is serious, as is depression. It affects young children facing playground bullying, struggling adults with various life problems, combat veterans faced with psychological issues, and many other types of people. It is not something that can be stereotyped.
If you know someone who needs help, don’t squander that opportunity. Their life may depend on it.
If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.