Robin Williams' Death Prompts Stateliners To Help Loved Ones Suffering From Depression

- ROCKFORD -- The suicide of actor Robin Williams has sparked national conversation and concerns about copycats. Studies have shown that suicides tend to spike after a celebrity kills themselves.  Stateline experts said they've seen no evidence that happens here.

"We really don't see a spike in any sort of incidents or deaths when celebrities do pass away. We don't see any sort of copycatting or following [at a local level]," said Bill Hintz, Chief Deputy Coroner of Winnebago County. 

They hope Williams' suicide does help raise awareness about people suffering from depression, and ways to help.

"There's no specific data that points to suicide being a contagion. However, I think what happens is when someone famous commits suicide, it opens up the national conversation," said Dr. Evan Silvi. 

He adds that suicidal thoughts triggered by depression do have symptoms people should look out for.  "People not enjoying the things that they previously enjoyed, people sleeping either too much or too little, decrease in appetite or decrease in energy, talking about suicide," are all things to be on the lookout for, according to Dr. Silvi. 

"Depression is a treatable illness and it's important to talk to people or if people talk to you about being depressed take what their telling you seriously," said Dr. Silvi. "Being present for that person is a way to help."


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