Depression Takes its Toll

We all were sad to hear about comedian and actor Robin Williams taking his own life on August 11. Like Mr. Williams, many people suffer from depression, and it is hard to see the signs.

According to Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.org, mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions, i.e. disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Mental illness can include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.

Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect one’s ability to function. Mental illness can make a person miserable and can cause problems in daily life, at work or in personal relationships. In most cases, symptoms can be managed with a combination of medications and counseling (psychotherapy).

There are resources here in Arizona that provide help. Here are a few websites offering information on how to help if you or a loved one is experiencing depression.

Some other famous persons that have suffered from depression are:

Jon Hamm

When Mad Men actor Hamm was 20, he experienced chronic depression following his father’s death. The structured environment of work and school helped him recover, but he also relied on therapy and anti-depressants .

 Ashley Judd

In her 2011 memoir, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, she revealed that she considered suicide as a sixth-grader, and in 2006 underwent 42 days in a rehab clinic for depression. “I would have died without it,” she told People magazine in April 2011.

Owen Wilson

The world saw a darker side of the actor in 2007 when reports surfaced that he had attempted suicide at his California home. Some friends were shocked, but others said that Wilson, who was 38 at the time, had “battled his share of demons, which have included drug addiction,” reported People.

Heath Ledger

The whole truth behind Ledger’s tragic death in January 2008 likely will never be known: The troubled actor, 28, was reported to have accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills, painkillers, and anxiety drugs not long after revealing to the New York Times that he’d been suffering from insomnia.

Andre Waters

The former NFL player shocked family and friends in November 2006 when he took his own life at age 44. Posthumous studies suggest he’d been suffering from brain damage and depression, both related to concussions sustained during football games.

Jeret “Speedy” Peterson

This Olympic freestyle skier lost his long-time battle with depression in 2011 when he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 29.

Princess Diana

Before Kate Middleton married England’s Prince William in 2011, she received counseling to prepare herself for life with the royal family, according to the Daily Mail. The counseling was likely meant to be preventive: William’s mother, Diana, after all, had experienced loneliness and depression in her role as a prince’s wife.

Andrew Koenig

The actor best known for his role in the 1990s sitcom “Growing Pains” battled depression for most of his life. That’s what Koenig’s father told reporters in February 2010, shortly after Koenig took his own life.

Brooke Shields

The model and actress was one of the first and most prominent celebrities to speak openly about her struggle with postpartum depression. She wrote about it in her 2005 book, “Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression”