The death of Robin Williams is bringing suicide and depression into the nation’s spotlight.
Suicide isn’t something reported in the news a lot. It’s very sensitive and very personal, but it’s something many people struggle with every day. The key is to see the signs, and get the help.
At Community Counseling Centers of Chicago in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, the team was put into action upon hearing the news of Williams’s suicide. They provide phone calls and counseling for those struggling with mental illness.
“They think, ‘If this can happen to this guy, with all of his wonderful family, his money his career… my life is nothing like his, so why should I keep going on?’” said Ron Sumpter who works at the center.
Gail Cutler founded the organization Rebecca’s Dream after she and her husband lost their daughter Rebecca to suicide. They began the foundation to de-stigmatize mental illness and get people to learn the signs of when help is needed; people isolating themselves, changes in appearance, habits and defensiveness.
“You say the words and you speak the truth,” Gail said. “’I’ve noticed that you’re not happy… can we talk? How can I help you?’ “
And Chicago was one of the first cities in the country to begin a mental health first aid class. It’s a day long program to certify people in not only spotting those who may be struggling with mental illness, but how to take the next step to talk to that person and get them the help they need.
More info at Rebecca’s Dream:www.rebeccasdream.com or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Mental Health First Aid: www.c4chicago.org/MHFA