Robin Williams’ Tragic Death Shows Complexity of Treating Mental Health Issues and Addiction

In 2014, legendary comic and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was found dead in his California home, the result of an apparent suicide. Friends and family said the 63-year-old comedian had been battling severe depression. Williams was a sensitive and gifted man who battled many inner demons.

Robin Williams could make anyone laugh. I remember the first time he was on Happy Days, then Mork and Mindy. His laugh was deep and warm, but it’s ironic how he could not warm his own heart deep enough to soothe the inner turmoil he battled most of his life. We are saddened by the loss of such talent and grieve with those close to him. We were all so blessed to receive the gift of laughter that he handed out in large doses.

There are many complex reasons for addiction and mental health that are extremely important to address and we work with many souls that are battling for their very lives. Suicide, taking into account under-reporting and passive suicides, is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, Mr. Williams’ death isn’t a rare situation and highlights how unprejudiced suicide is. It doesn’t discriminate in any way and affects people of all ages, races and socio-economic status.

Williams was open about his struggle with drugs and alcohol throughout his life and entered a rehab program earlier this summer. It’s common for those who battle addiction to also experience deep depression.

Depression comes from the wounds and adversities that we have trouble processing and finding an answer to. When compounded by self-medicating substance abuse, the ticking time bomb can go off at any time. No one is immune to the devastation caused by the tentacles of depression. Robin Williams’ tragic death is a grim reminder of how complex behavioral health issues are to understand, live with and treat. We need reform and awareness, and we need to bring God back into the healing process. Nothing else is powerful enough to bring lasting healing and a true deep transformation.

Williams’ death is even more tragic because he saw no other way out of his darkness other than to take his own life.

If you are concerned about a friend or loved one battling depression or addiction, reach out for help through a trusted mental health resource, local hospital or call our Helpline 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242).


karl-benzio-1 Dr. Karl Benzio MD, Christian Psychiatrist, writer, speaker, media guest expert, social issue activist, and the founder and clinical director of Lighthouse Network. Benzio brings scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s storms. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students about counseling, leadership, parenting, marriage, and conflict resolution skills in traumatized areas like Uganda, Kenya and post-Hussein Iraq. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council, the Pennsylvania Director of the American Academy of Medical Ethics, and serves on many other social policy task forces. His specialties include adolescents, addictions, decision-making and infusing spirituality into treatment. Benzio shares psycho-spiritual insights via his Stepping Stones daily devotional, on his one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” on 425 Christian radio stations and on


Twitter: @drkarlb

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