Lifeline says tragedy reminds us to care

THE sudden death of Robin Williams reminds us to love on a daily basis, seek outside help and be there for others, says Lifeline Bendigo chief executive Leo Schultz. 

A US county sherrif's office this morning confirmed that the comedic actor died aged 63 at his California home, just before midday local time today. 

Mr Schultz said the news of anyone committing suicide could trigger memories and emotions for people either experiencing depression or who had been touched by it in the past.

But it could also start a much-needed conversation about the risks of tackling pain alone, he said. 

"It will definitely get people to talk about this issue and we should try and work towards a positive discussion," he said. 

"Hopefully (Williams' death) can lead to a spike in help seeking and remind people that it's not uncommon to have suicidal thoughts."

These feelings are not due to circumstances either, he said. 

"They really can hit anyone, as was the case with Williams," Mr Schultz said. 

"The term mental illness says it all - it's an illness. 

"This means it is not based on anything that's happening to the person directly and highlights the fact we need to be supportive of those we love all the time, because you never know what's going on in their mind."

With an outpouring of love and respect for Williams since his death on Tuesday morning, Mr Schultz said it was ever-important to tell people how you feel before it's too late. 

"We need to be available for people and cut each other a bit of slack," he said. 

"Hopefully the positive effect from this news is that people realise the risks involved in turning within ourselves rather than looking outside for help."

He urged people who had suicidal thoughts to contact their GP, seek help from family and friends, or call Lifeline. 

"We like to think everyone who has those thoughts can be helped," he said. 

"For anyone in a crisis, I would ask them to look for ways they can help themselves because there is help out there."

Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.


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