Editorial: We can learn from Robin’s death

Few celebrity deaths have rocked the world with any more fierceness than the reported suicide of Robin Williams last week.

From mainstream, national newscasts, to social media, the shock, dismay and sadness expressed following the announcement of his death was the kind of outpouring usually reserved for a beloved world leader. (Princess Diana’s death comes to mind.)

Undoubtedly, the circumstances surrounding Robin Williams’ death had a lot to do with the reaction.

We can only hope that something good comes of it.

The death of Robin Williams has brought the issue of mental illness and depression to the forefront in an unprecedented fashion.

There is so much to learn about mental illness, and so many stigmas that must be pushed aside.

The number of posts on social media that included the words “I don’t understand” is a reflection of the illness.

There is so much that not only the layman, but the world’s top physicians don’t understand about mental illness and depression, that addressing the issue at times appears overwhelming.

One struggle is addressing the symptoms. Sometimes they are so well hidden by the victim that even his or her closest relatives do not suspect a thing (although  this was not the case with Williams).

But the biggest struggle is addressing the stigmas. As a society, we tend to shy away from the whole ordeal. We empathize with someone who has a broken leg, or broken arm, but what about those with a broken brain?

Sadly, far too often, we make fun of them.

“He’s crazy.”

“Don’t make eye contact.”

“Nutbar.”

Sound familiar? Most of us have said it, or thought it, about someone suffering a mental illness.

Before we can  seriously start addressing the illness, we must start taking it seriously.

Robin Williams was not the first celebrity to take his own life, and unfortunately, he won’t be the last. But if the pain expressed by his millions of fans leads us to better funding, studying and ultimately understanding mental illness, then his death will not have been in vain.

The world turned a little less funny on August 11, 2014.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

 

Just Posted

Pride Society of the Comox Valley set to kick off week-long celebration

The organization is celebrating Pride Week with a variety of events to bring the community together.

Work continues on Courtenay’s 4th Street Improvement Project

4th street will be closed to traffic between Duncan and Cliffe Avenue

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Cannabis facility planned in Courtenay

Design up to 100,000 square feet

Major private donation to Kus-kus-sum project

Frank and Bobbi Denton, longtime residents of the Comox Valley, have donated… Continue reading

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Most Read