Actor's death puts mental health treatment back in spotlight - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Actor's death puts mental health treatment back in spotlight

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. (Source: MGN Online) Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. (Source: MGN Online)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Local mental health experts are hoping news of the death of actor Robin Williams will alert people suffering from mental illness that there is help and hope available.

“Since the news came out yesterday, everybody seems to suddenly be talking about depression and suicide,” Ashley Jones with the Mental Health Center of Madison County said. “I just hope people continue being aware and open to the problem.”

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with 36,000 Americans committing suicide in 2011. In Alabama, the suicide rate has been increasing over the years and has consistently been higher than the national average, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Jones stressed the fact suicide can always be prevented.

“70 percent of individuals who have had thoughts of suicide or who have attempted or committed suicide have told someone else about their plans,” Jones said. “And so that's why it's important to know the signs of depression so you can help someone else.”

Symptoms include loss of interest in activities, appetite or weight loss changes, anger and reckless behavior and even getting affairs in order.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Alabama has decreased mental health funding by 36 percent from 2009 to 2012. Currently the Alliance gives Alabama’s mental health care system a D. However there are always ways to get help. 

For help in the Tennessee Valley, you can contact the Crisis Center of North Alabama at 256-716-4052 or The Mental Health Center of Madison County at 256-533-1970.

Click here for additional options and ways to reach out for help and support.

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