Mental health at forefront again

This week brought some sad news for those who of us who love to laugh.

This week brought some sad news for those who of us who love to laugh.

Funnyman Robin Williams, who brought joy to millions with his comedic roles on the stage, television and film, died this week at the age of 63 as a result of an apparent suicide.

Williams’ death is tragic, heartbreaking, but not all together unexpected. It was well known that Williams struggled in a lifelong battle with addiction and depression.

As such, the growing issue of mental health is in the forefront of the public’s mind once again.

Following minutes in the wake of Williams’ death, social and traditional medias exploded with news of the discovery. News sources scrambled over each other to break the news while fans, friends and other celebrities all took to Twitter and Facebook to express their feelings after the tragic news hit.

Perhaps one of the most pointed messages was a tweet from The Academy, which has since been re-tweeted by more than 260,000 followers. Referencing one of Williams’ most famous roles as the loveable Genie in Disney’s Aladdin franchise, the tweet simply read, “Genie, you’re free.”

Only three simply words, but they speak volumes about Williams’ comedic magic, his constant battle with addiction and the tragic manner of his death.

Williams was a comedic genius, there is no question. But, underneath all the jokes and all the laughs, it is apparent he was still deeply troubled by the most common mental health condition diagnosed – one that society still does cannot adequately address.

Depression and other mental health issues are sicknesses that alter the way the brain thinks. For individuals suffering from such conditions, it can feel like there is no way out and many of them sadly see death as their only option.

There is only one way to remedy this. We, as a society, need to address the issue of mental health.

It’s not just going to go away, and those who suffer from it aren’t just going to get over it. Rather, it is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with so that others don’t meet the same tragic end as the man who will be forever remembered for his magic voice, acting talent and unbelievable capacity to make people laugh. Death should not have been the only way for Genie to feel free. Sadly, Robin Williams is gone but he will forever be immortalized as Mork, Mrs. Doubtfire, Genie, Peter Pan, Patch Adams and hundreds of others. We can only hope that Williams has found the peace he so desperately sought.

Bangarang Mr. Williams. Bangarang.