THE publicity surrounding actor Robin Williams’ death has had a positive impact on the public’s awareness of depression, according to mental health charity Leeds Mind.
The number of hits on the Leeds Mind Facebook page increased following the actor’s apparent suicide earlier this month.
And the charity believes the intense media coverage of the tragedy has provoked a much-needed debate about mental health.
Leeds Mind spokeswoman Gemma Green said: “I think the publicity surrounding Robin Williams’ death has been a positive thing for mental health.
“It has brought a lot more awareness of depression and what depression is. It can affect anyone at any time.
“I don’t think mental health issues are generally well understood and, unfortunately, it takes something like this to bring it to people’s attention.”
Paul Croston a service manager at Leeds Mind, said: “It has got people talking about depression and mental health and questioning how and why.
“A lot of people suffer in silence and put on a front so it looks like they are fine.”
Mr Croston said negative comments on social media following Robin Williams’ death, including some asking why he was depressed when he had fame and wealth, have been challenged.
He added: “It is about educating people that you can have everything materialistically, but it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, you can still suffer depression.”
The Leeds Mental Health Directory website www.leedsmhdirectory.co.uk – which has around 7,000 visitors every month – has this week been upgraded with improved search facilities.
Leeds Mind is on Facebook at Facebook.com/mindleeds