The death of Robin Williams is opening the lines of communication about depression, mental illness and suicide; a topic rarely discussed.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 to help and it's not just for people with suicidal thoughts. People have called for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.

The Suicide Prevention website provides ways to help yourself or others.

1. Recognize warning signs: What sorts of thoughts, images, moods, situations, and behaviors indicate to you that a crisis may be developing? Write these down in your own words.

2. Use your own coping strategies – without contacting another person: What are some things that you can do on your own to help you not act on thoughts/urges to harm yourself?

3. Socialize with others who may offer support as well as distraction from the crisis: Make a list of people (with phone numbers) and social settings that may help take your mind off things.

4. Contact family members or friends who may help to resolve a crisis: Make a list of family members (with phone numbers) who are supportive and who you feel you can talk to when under stress.

5. Contact mental health professionals or agencies: List names, numbers and/or locations of clinicians, local emergency rooms, crisis hotlines – carry the Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255

6. Ensure your environment is safe: Have you thought of ways in which you might harm yourself? Work with your counselor to develop a plan to limit your access to these means.

Warning Signs

*Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
*Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
*Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
*Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
*Talking about being a burden to others.
*Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
*Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
*Sleeping too little or too much.
*Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
*Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
*Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Get more information at

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