The death of Robin Williams reminds us yet again that depression is a serious life-threatening illness and needs to be recognized as a major public health crisis. By conservative estimates, one in six Americans has lifetime experience with depressions, bipolar illnesses or related disorders. An astounding 75-80% of deaths by suicide can be traced to these illnesses.
Robin Williams had reportedly struggled with depression. He had also struggled with a history of substance abuse, a common combination with mood disorders. Adding to that, he has dealt with cardiac health issues and related surgery, which also increases the odds of depression in patients. The same is true of other major health issues such as cancer and diabetes.