Robin Williams' recent death highlights the importance of recognizing that depression is a serious and often life-threatening illness. Estimates are that one in six Americans will suffer a mood disorder during their lifetime. Up to 80% of deaths by suicide can be traced to these disorders. If recognized in time, we know that many of these conditions can respond to appropriate treatment and prevent these tragedies. It is time to intensify our education, research, and treatment capabilities for these disorders.
Stuart Eisendrath, MD
Director of the UCSF Depression Center
University of California, San Francisco