They remember him as not a man but a comedic genius. They remember him not as a commoner but as a God. From his big break in Happy Days to his season long role as an advertising executive in the show The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams was a man everybody knew and loved. Those close to him basked in his aura of laughter, lightheartedness and love. To all, he was a warm and self-satisfied man who loved his family and excelled at his work.

Therefore, when news came out over the weekend that the great comedian and actor Robin Williams had apparently committed suicide due to depression, the world was both shocked and deeply saddened. No one had any idea that his story could ever be akin to that of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s Richard Cory, who was quite easily the town’s most liked man. Cory was rich, polite and handsome: everything that anyone could ever ask for. He looked and acted happy, until one day he went home and shot himself in the head.

Williams’ death is not only a great loss, but also an exhibit of what happens to millions of people on a daily basis. Clinical depression is one of the world’s fastest spreading conditions in the world, with over forty million cases reported each year in the United States alone and claiming over one million lives worldwide through suicide. It throws light on the crying need the world has of exceptional support systems for people battling with depression, for whom living day to day is a challenge in itself. It might manifest in various ways that include but are not limited to violence, anti-social tendencies, drinking, drugs, smoking and so on. But really all a patient needs is good care and a sound, constant support system to keep them going. Williams might have been unlucky, but there are millions who might be saved if depression is addressed as a concern and not dismissed as a hissy fit.  When dazzling comedic geniuses bend before its will, who's to say we won't? 

"Addiction waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, 'It's fine now, I'm OK.' Then, the next thing you know, it's not OK.”

—Robin Williams on Good Morning America, 2006

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