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Letter: The mentally ill need our help
First Published Aug 15 2014 04:40 pm • Last Updated Aug 15 2014 04:41 pm

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.

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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

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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