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Depression And Mental Health Awareness In The Wake Of Robin Williams's Death

Eva Rinaldi / Wikimedia Commons

The death of actor and comedian Robin Williams has unleashed a tide of emotion and discussion about how we deal with issues of mental illness in this country.

Williams suffered from depression, which affects 10 percent of Americans. He died Monday in an apparent suicide, news that shocked and saddened his millions of fans around the world.

The Oscar-winning performer had always been open about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse over the years and also the depression that accompanied those addictions. Yet his awareness of the problem, and his efforts to get treatment, were not enough to save him.

Depression is often called the common cold of mental illness, but while it impacts so many, there’s a stigma surrounding it and depression can often be difficult to treat.

Ben Warner, CEO of JCCI, the think tank that is currently undertaking a major inquiry on mental health here on the First Coast, and Dr. Lauren Yerkes, a licensed clinical psychologist in Jacksonville Beach, joined Melissa Ross with their thoughts.

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.