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Letter: The mentally ill need our help

Published August 15, 2014 4:40 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Every time there is a death like that of humor icon Robin Williams, it is a rip to the soul of those of us who are "suicide survivors."

It is 23 years since my son took his own life by handgun and, to make matters worse, I found his body. If he had been a stranger, I would never be able to forget, but this body was that of my beloved son.

Except for those closest to him, my son was just another young man seeking to find his way in a complicated world. But, like Robin Williams, he carried the burden of depression. Yet when he took the stage to do an impromptu, manic and off-the-wall act at young-adult dances, the crowd went wild. He became a draw to the extent that if he had no money, (which was often enough) he was admitted free.

Death by suicide is not cowardice, maliciousness or sinful. There are people who carry the archaic notion a person who commits suicide goes to hell. While the spotlight is on Robin Williams' death, hopefully more enlightenment, especially from local and national authorities will come as a result. Enlightenment and treatment of this frequently malignant illness is much under-funded. Wake up, politicians! It's only money.

Marie Stewart Hughes

Salt Lake City




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