Community
4:44 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Robin Williams' Death Changing The Conversation About Depression Among Youth

The tragic death of one of the world’s best-loved comedians may serve to change the public conversation about depression. Robin Williams’ suicide has more people talking about taking a greater role in looking out for loved ones that could be suffering.

Everyone seemed to love him, but no one seemed to understand the depth of his depression. From Facebook and Twitter to news website, the actor's death has fueled a new conversation about depression, about sensitivity, about looking for signs among our friends and family.

Bill Wilkinson, CEO of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, said back-to-school often brings on depression for children.

“Particularly as they’re moving to different grade environments," Wilkinson said. "So moving from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school, they could be concerned about bullying, about being in this foreign environment. They might be feeling pressure from parents or from the system at large."

Wilkinson said he hopes the new conversation will mean parents talk more to their kids.

Elizabeth Lutz with The Health Collaborative said it’s important for parents to know what to look for.

“Very early diagnosis in children is key and we start to see a lot of changes around the adolescent area,” Lutz said.

But Lutz said getting people to the right resources in San Antonio has sometimes been a battle.

“We don’t have enough resources for counseling,” Lutz said. “There’s limited psychiatry. There’s limited counseling services available. So while we have great partners, there’s funding that is required in order for us to continue to provide these services for families.”

Lutz said her organization is working to pull more resources together to fill those gaps in services. The group is offering a community conversation about mental health issues Wednesday so people can learn about depression and substance abuse.

The event is at the Whitley Center at 285 Oblate Drive, Wednesday, August 13, 6-9 p.m. Child care is provided.