Robin Williams: Mental illness kills

08/12/2014 5:08 PM

08/13/2014 8:53 AM

Re "Robin Williams, boisterous comedy star, dead at 63" (, Aug. 11): Mental illness can kill as exemplified by the tragic death of Robin Williams. No one should underestimate the impact of a single risk factor for suicide, and Williams had two: depression and substance abuse.

In 2011, approximately 40,000 individuals in the U.S. committed suicide and in 2002, close to 900,000 people worldwide died at their own hands. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness is responsible for up to a third of all disabilities worldwide. Mental illness can be more devastating than physical illness since it is invisible, remains poorly understood and treated and those with mental disorders are often stigmatized.

Unfortunately, there are no simple solutions when it comes to mental illness.

-- Mark Collen, Sacramento

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