Hartlepool and East Durham mental health schemes issue advice after death of Robin Williams

COMEDY GREAT: Robin Williams
COMEDY GREAT: Robin Williams

MENTAL health charities in Hartlepool and East Durham have urged sufferers in the depths of despair to seek help – in light of the shock death of Hollywood legend Robin Williams.

The 63-year-old Mrs Doubtfire star was found at his home in California, having recently grappled with severe depression.

The coroner at Marin County Sheriff’s Office, near the Good Morning Vietnam actor’s home, said it was suspected that the cause of death was a suicide due to asphyxia.

But a probe was due to be completed before a final determination was made.

The death of the star of other classics, including Good Will Hunting, Jumanji, Hook, Aladdin, Patch Adams and Mork and Mindy, prompted a host of comments on social media expressing their shock, with many commenting on how surprising it was that it could happen to someone often seen as so jovial.

Today bosses at mental health schemes in Hartlepool and East Durham urged those in the depths of depression who feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel to seek help.

Catheryn Hall, a support worker at Park Road-based Artrium, which uses art to improve mental health and wellbeing, said many service users were talking about the death of the Oscar winner.

She added: “People in a similar situation should know that help is always there, no matter how hard times get.

“It often happens to the people you least expect, but quite a few people have things going on under the surface.

“You don’t have to be on your own, someone is always there to help you.”

Artrium, which has around 50 users, works closely with Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, and Catheryn urged sufferers of mental health problems to seek help from Artrium, Mind and the Samaritans.

East Durham Trust, in Peterlee, which launched its Let’s Talk East Durham project to help tackle the taboo of mental health, issued a statement.

It said: “Very sad news this morning regarding the death of Robin Williams.

“If depression can (allegedly) kill one of the world’s greatest funny men, well it can get any of us at any time.

“Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.

“We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

“Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition.

“They’re wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can ‘snap out of’ by ‘pulling yourself together’.

“The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery.

“Please ask for help.

“Make an appointment to see your GP or if you want to talk to someone now, in confidence call the Samaritans 08457 90 90 90.

“The world needs you even if you don’t think it does.”