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ROBIN WILLIAMS

AS PRINTED I N THE DAILY MAIL 14TH AUGUST

Depression comes in many forms, strikes without warning and really doesn’t care who you are or indeed what you do for a living.

This was proven to us yet again this week when another bright light was taken from us way before his time.

I have no doubt that Robin Williams has a place in all our hearts. His diversity of work and ability to make us laugh was truly unique.

His body of work will be played in millions of houses in the coming weeks and years to come as, yet again, we all try to understand a terrible disease that is invisible to the eye.

It never ceases to amaze me that at times like this you scroll through the various social media and read posts from people who are amazed at the selfishness of people who take their own lives.

Some people are in disbelief because he had a loving family and so much to live for. Others call him selfish because he was a celebrity and therefore ungrateful . They ask, ‘How could anyone who has everything materially ever feel sad?’

When I read these comments I feel sad that it seems no matter what we’re doing to start conversations about mental health, we have people who are utterly — in my opinion — selfish themselves, posting comments that are hurtful to everyone who has ever lost anyone through suicide and/or mental illness of some kind.

Robin Williams was very open about his mental health issues. He suffered from addiction and, even as recently as this summer, was trying to get the help he needed. It was simply just not enough for him to fight his demons.

Sometimes when I’m well I wonder how I could ever have such negative thoughts and feelings. I’m an extremely positive person and always see the glass half-full.

However, I can never become complacent and secure about my mental health and unfortunately always have to be aware of it. There is not a day goes by now that I don’t ask myself how I’m feeling and look at my lifestyle and how I’m treating myself.

That doesn’t mean that I’m mad or unbalanced and, these days, it also doesn’t mean I’m sad all the time either. It means I, unfortunately, have a mini-war happening inside and it also means I suffer from an illness that’s invisible. I’m fighting what I consider to be the silent killer of our generation.

Everyone with mental illness is fighting their own and very unique battle with this incredibly misunderstood disease. Finding a formula that works for you is essential but sometimes our formulas stop working and we need to figure out why.

In the beginning I found this annoying and upsetting, but now I’ve accepted it’s simply part of my life. I have a child who needs me and so my mental health is my top priority.

One of the darkest days of my life was when I asked my mum not to leave me alone with James because I didn’t want to be here anymore. She knew I was serious and I knew I needed serious help. I thank God every day that I got the help I needed. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t.
Early intervention is essential. We need to stop the stigma and encourage people to speak up and ask for help. Every single one of us has a responsibility here. The statistics say that one in four of us will suffer from mental health problems, but I think that every single person will encounter a mental health issue in some shape or form.

To Me, Robin Williams’ death is another serious wake-up call about mental illness — not just for our Government but for everyone. At the very least we all need to recognize that our lifestyles and how we treat ourselves will directly affect how we feel.

Stigma is fuelled by fear and fear is the main reason people are not getting help. Believe me, nothing matters more than people getting well. Who cares what the neighbours or your friends think! Open your heart and open your mind. Believe me, it will make
a difference.

A Theatre Company called Tobar Na Run will be performing the production of a play about SUICIDE AWARENESS in Teenagers,written by Patricia McCann called “Bring Me Back Alive”.

490 Suicides were registered in 2010 and this rose by an alarming rate of 7% in 2011 to 525 and for the first 3 quarters of  2012 the figure stands at 367. The 2011 figures show 439 men and 86 women committed Suicide and furthermore the majority between the age of 15 and 44.

Recession has a huge impact on peoples well being, those who lose their jobs experience a drastic reduction in their income or are in danger of losing their home. They experience anxiety, despair and depression, relationship difficulties and marriage breakdown can follow on from that. We should be identifying and responding to these problems in the community as quickly as possible. Suicide Awareness agencies are now attending to and trying to support a huge increase in under 18 year old’s.

“BRING ME BACK ALIVE” The facts in Suicide and self harm reflect the need for more public awareness on an issue that has been neglected for far too long. It is difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives, but a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no way out.It is our intention through medium of Theatre to highlight the awareness in order to try to help prevent suicide in our society.

“BRING ME BACK ALIVE” is a thought provoking story set in a youth centre in modern day Dublin. The play highlights some of the warning signs to watch out for. It focuses on the need for far more Mental Health Services in order to deal with this escalating crisis which is spiraling out of control.It looks at the devastating affect that Suicide has on family and friends. The main aim of the play is to show that there is hope, there is an alternative. The play is written in as lighthearted way as possible in order to give hope to those who need it the most.

The play starts on Monday 27th May and runs until Saturday 1st June at The Teachers Club Theatre 36 Parnell Square Dublin 1. Tickets are €15.00. We intend to perform matinees in the afternoons for this week for students with tickets priced at €5.00.