I know this is not “political” but it is current. Yesterday the world lost a great talent. Living in the Bay Area, Robin Williams has been a fixture among charities, movie sets filmed in San Francisco and just walking around enjoying northern California. Knowing only bits and pieces about him as a person, I was stunned to hear about his passing and the cause of it as well. I had no idea – as someone who doesn’t know him personally but as a fan/observer – that he was so troubled. I read a quote on social media yesterday that said the saddest people are the ones who try the hardest to make others happy. This news weighs on me heavily. I don’t know if he tried to seek help, or if others tried to help him, or intervene. I do know that the world of mental illness is a murky terrifying path for anyone whose lives it touches. Adding fame, publicity, public scrutiny, movie critics and wealth honestly does not help. If anything these elements make it more likely someone will claim their own life. Hollywood has provided us all too many examples of this this past year and beyond. I dont have any magic answers for anyone suffering w/ mental illness. IT can be difficult to admit a problem – to yourself, a professional, friends and family. Its difficult even if you’re not famous. More so if you are. Who can you call that wont leak it to the press? How do you know they will keep your information confidential?
That said, I DO think its beyond time for Hollywood to help. Its no secret the elements of fame are hard for any individual to deal with on a normal level. It should not be a rite of passage to go to rehab. Hollywood should have on set therapists, counselors, reputable places the famous can go for PREVENTATIVE help that is just as respected as the famed rehab facilities that cater to the stars. How many Cory Monteiths, River Phoenix’s, Robin Williams, etc have to die before this is taken seriously and not treated as a trend or a publicity opportunity? Enough is enough.
(more focus on mental illness in general, in next blog)