Robin Williams death shedding light on depression, suicide

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Robin Williams death shedding light on depression, suicide

By Spencer Lubitz. CREATED Aug 12, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Fans and friends of actor Robin Williams continue to mourn his death after he was found dead in his California home on Monday.

Raushan Hammond played one of the lost boys to Williams' Peter Pan in the 1991 film "Hook."

The paternal relationship between the characters existed off screen as well. The two kept in touch throughout the years, and Hammond said he would always try to catch Williams' shows on the Las Vegas Strip.

"I would come to Las Vegas and I would go over to the MGM Grand where he was always performing, and after he would still come over, and in the movie, my character's name was Thud Butt, so his nickname for me was always Thud. So he'd always put his arm around me and say, 'Hey Thud.' He was always such a nice person."

Hammond said one of the things he remembers most from his time on "Hook" was Williams' energy level, despite 18-hour days of filming.

Hammond said whether it be on the movie set, or in the packed MGM Grand Garden Arena, when Williams was present, it was as if his spirit filled the entire room.

He said he was always aware of Williams' battle with depression and addiction, but never witnessed it firsthand.

"I just kind of remember hearing about it on television, but then I would see him a few weeks later or a few months later and it would never show."

Ron Lawrence, a marriage and family therapist with the nonprofit Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada, said there could be a good reason for that, because the warning signs of depression can be easily masked by substance abuse.

"People who are depressed or people who have any type of psychiatric disorder are very likely to self medicate, because it will have an impact on their symptoms, but not the proper impact that medication would have," said Lawrence.

Lawrence wants those with suicidal thoughts to know there is another avenue out of depression, with plenty of professionals in Southern Nevada ready to help.

"Our goal in doing therapy here at Community Counseling Center is that that person will somehow be better, that their state of mind and their state of being will somehow surpass the person that they were right before they became depressed."

There are plenty of organizations looking to help those in need:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
With Help Comes Hope
1-800-273-TALK (8255) (Active Duty Military or Veterans Press 1)

Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention

Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada
714 East Sahara Avenue, Suite 101
(702) 369-8700