Robin Williams Can Leave an even Greater Legacy: Eliminate Stigma

President Obama on the passing of Robin Williams:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But, he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”

I would add to this that Robin Williams will be an instrumental part of removing much of the stigma associated with mental health issues–opening the way for more to achieve greater mental and emotional health.

People will ridicule and stigmatize strangers but there are so many who love Robin Williams whose attitude about seeking help will change because they will understand that if society had been different, if we had deeper conversations with one another, if we understood more, Robin Williams might have received the right help at the right time.

This shift in the stigma associated with mental/emotional health may become Robin Williams’s greatest legacy. Let’s make it so.

He can’t do it alone but with the help of those who love him there has never been a better time.

We live in a world where people in emotional pain suffer in silence. Their pain affects everyone. Mental health affects physical health, behavior, relationships, and cognitive abilities.

The origin of the stigma came from fear about the cause of mental illness and the inability of healers to cure it. Today we know more and can do more. It is time for everyone to understand the mind-body connection and how to attain and sustain better emotional and mental health. We have the tools to accomplish this—now it is time to educate, to help everyone understand how much difference it makes and how simple it can be to feel better.

Think about what you would have wanted for Robin Williams if you had known the pain he was in. Make a decision that you’ll be supportive of eliminating any negative bias you may have toward mental and emotional health issues.

Make a decision to give a smile to those who have none and a hug to those who need one. Compliment more, criticize less. Be open to deeper conversations. Learn more about how to decrease stress and increase happiness–they are opposite ends of the same stick. 

This great man, with a great legacy, has the potential to become even greater.

Rest in peace Robin Wiilliams.

P.S. I ran across an excellent write-up about stigma by Dr. Lynn K. Jones. You can read it Dr. Lynn K. Jones Stigma write-up.