Getting past stigma of depression first step to getting help

A co-worker recognized signs of depression in Jolaine Hill and helped her seek help.

Robin Williams' death is getting people talking about depression, something many people struggle with silently.

But the hope is out of this tragedy, others can be stopped by showing people ways to get and find help. That means knowing the signs to look for.

Depression can be dealt with, but not alone. People need to reach out for help, but that seems to be the hardest hurdle to clear.

Williams was one of those rare talents who could make us laugh and cry, almost at the same time.

"He's had several interviews where he talks about his demons and that sort of thing. But he's such a funny man we tend to laugh that off and say how serious could this be?" said Dr. Steven Rumble.

It turned out to be deadly serious.

"I've been dealing with major depressive disorder for 17 years now," said Jolaine Hill.

A co-worker recognized some warning signs and suggested Jolaine seek help.

"I went from a place where I was very down in the dumps, not being future-oriented, to getting my future back and my hope back," she said.

"Any kind of dramatic change you see in a loved one, start wondering about that possibility. That person may not be a good measure whether or not they are depressed, because it may be something they have gotten used to," said Rumble.

Williams fit the demographic for the highest rate of suicide - white men between the age of 55-70. The second highest age group is teenagers.

"If it wasn't for being encouraged to make that call, I never would have made it on my own," Hill said.

Hill now serves as president of the board for Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis, working to help others avoid the pitfalls related to depression. The symptoms to look for include eating, overeating, difficulty sleeping, tired, irritability, withdrawal and a feeling of hopelessness.

"Periodically have less feelings about things. They just don't care, don't have feelings, they have no positive or negative feelings," Rumble said.

Hill never knew Robin Williams, but she has firsthand knowledge of depression and the stigma that can be attached to seeking treatment. But she remains steadfast.

"You do need to go out and seek treatment and don't worry about what other people think," she said.

The Mental Health America crisis line can be reached by phone at 317-251-7575 or you can text "CSIS" to 839863. All calls are confidential and the line is open 24 hours a day.

Depression and suicide help