Light Shined On Suicide Crisis in America after Celebrity Death

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Robin Williams was an extremely popular actor and standup comedian that provided laughs and viewing pleasure to millions of people for many years throughout his lustrous career. His antics, improvisations, quick wit and depth of color and character in the parts he played made him an icon. For the majority of people, to watch Robin Williams perform was to see a picture of joy, happiness and contentment that most people envy.
However, on August 11 of this year, Robin took his own life by committing suicide which not only stunned fans and left an empty space in so many hearts, but his action has also shed light on the suicide crisis in America that is affecting the existence of thousands of others. Robin wasn’t happy. On the contrary, he battled an inner life of depression, loneliness and drug abuse of which most people were totally unaware.
The Escalating Rate of Suicide
Suicide rates have been increasingly climbing across the country for the past decade. In 2009, the figures increased to a point that suicide was ranked as the country’s number one cause of death by injury. This was the very first time that suicide deaths outnumbered those caused by vehicle accidents which formerly held the number one spot. One reason attributed to the recent spike in suicide numbers is that more adults in the 35 to 64 age range are committing suicide which has increased by 28.4 percent over the last 10 years. People of this age had previously been considered the more stable group in society. Robin Williams was 63.
The news of Robin Williams’ suicide created a tidal wave of calls from people seeking help via crisis hotlines. In one example, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported that their offices received more calls on the day following the actor’s death than at any other time in their history. Suicide assistance calls to their hotlines doubled to over 7,500 in that one day. The organization’s project director added that the actual number of calls probably reached around eight times that figure because their suicide crisis hotlines only account for around 12 percent of their total contacts. Keep in mind that those figures are from only one suicide assistance organization.
It is not unusual to seek spikes in suicide assistance calls at such help centers after the death of a popular public figure or celebrity. It is, however, concerning to experts to see such large numbers occurring, such as in the time surrounding the death of Robin Williams. Although the willingness of people to call for help is encouraging due to the increased chance of them being provided help, the sheer numbers of calls means that more people than ever before are contemplating the act. Experts indeed see this trend as a crisis.
You can find more of this article in our October 2014 issue of ModelsMania

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