The suicide of legendary performer Robin Williams is drawing a lot of attention to depression. As many wonder how it could happen to someone who brought so much joy to others, Dr. Patricia Santy, Medical Director of the Fresno County Behavioral Health was on Sunrise to talk about the warning signs of suicide and how to get help yourself or someone else help.
DR. SANTY: Depression can affect anybody. And there are a lot of different aspects to it, there is a biological aspect, there's a psychological aspect and effective treatment for depression is available but you have to be willing to go in a and get it and that means sometimes because a person is depressed they can't seek help on their own their loved ones , family and friends have to notice some of the warning signs and maybe help that person get the help they need because help is out there. a lot of people think when they're depressed nothing can be done but there's a lot of different types of treatment that are very effective, finding the right treatment for each individual is a challenge but it's something that we mental health professionals are very good at and if only people will reach out they can get that help.
GEORGE: "We have heard that he was seeking a little bit of help. It's been a shock that he took his life like that. He was an actor is there a way that he disguised what he did to keep people out of the loop as to what was going on with him secretly?"
DR. SANTY: "A lot of people who are very serious about killing themselves don't give a lot of the warning signs. They're very subtle and in Mr. Williams' case he'd been struggling with depression quite a long time. I'm not sure what treatment he had, but he also had a co-occuring disorder. He had a problem with substances like alcohol and I understand that was a recent thing and that can make depression ten times, twenty times worse in people. So that is actually one of the warning signs: if you notice someone who has been sober for a long time if they go back to drinking or using drugs that can be a very serious warning sign that things are not going well. The shame of relapsing can make depression that much worse.
CARINA: "Some of the other warning signs that we had there on the screen, talking about suicide, feeling hopeless, trapped, or a burden on other people, withdrawing and showing rage. If people see these types of signs in their loved ones how do you even begin that conversation of do you need help and recognizing that? "
DR. SANTY: "I think a lot of people tend to tip-toe around the subject depression and suicide especially family and friends thinking they'll get over it but the best and most important thing you can do is be open and completely up front about what's going on. Don't be afraid to ask, "Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Have you had those thoughts?" and if they say yes because they often will tell you I've been a psychologist for a long time and often times people are relieved that it's brought out in the open because usually something that's going on in their minds and they think no one else feels that way and they can't understand how they feel, so bringing it out in the open is a very big factor and don't be afraid to say there is help available there are a lot of different treatments some biological some psychological but there is help and their is hope for people with depression.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please seek help:
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE:
WWW.CO.FRESNO.CA.US - EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS LISTED ON HOME PAGE
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