It’s not often that I write on death. Certainly not on this blog, which usually sits as a platform for bookish things. But having woken up two hours ago to the news that one of my favourite childhood figures has passed… I felt I had to write something.
Mental illness and suicide are horrible things. I won’t sugarcoat it. They are terrible, silent killers, and if any of you reading this need help, please get it. (I’ve included a list of helplines and websites at the bottom.) I know several people – myself included – who suffer and have suffered from mental illness. I know of people who have tried to commit suicide – and of people who have succeeded.
Robin Williams’ death is a reminder that mental illness cannot and should not be disregarded. It should not be swept under the carpet. It should not be ignored in favour of ‘worse’ physical illnesses. Please do not scorn those who suffer, do not label them as ‘attention-seeking’. It might seem that, but how bad would you feel if you discovered days later that that individual had hurt themselves, or at worst ended their lives?
Help them. Let them know you are there for them. Be there for them, don’t just say you are.
As for this wonderful man, I know he will be remembered, and remembered well. He brought light to so many lives. I only hope he’s found the peace he deserves.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning.
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK