Like so many of us -particularly those in my generation – I was shocked to hear about Robin Williams and his (supposed) suicide attempt.

While my first reaction was complete shock and disbelief, it later morphed into sadness and grief.  While it’s always tragic to lose someone, the fact that it was suicide seems to compound the gamut of difficult feelings that his death brings up in all of us.  Having worked in mental health for many years, I have seen firsthand the debilitating  effects of depression and as a result this is feeling very close to home for me.

I can’t even begin to compose my thoughts about this tragedy, but one of my dear friends (and former guest on the Inspiration With Val podcast), Dr. Elana Miller wrote a great piece about it from her perspective as a psychiatrist.    I also love this article about why Millennials seem to be particularly affected by his death.   I can vividly remember my childhood as  strung-together Robin Williams moments – from OBSESSING over Aladdin where he played the lovable genie, quoting the movie and singing Aladdin songs with my sister when we were supposed to be sleeping, to watching Mrs. Doubtfire at a slumber party at Krystal Koch’s house in third grade, to watching Jumanji with my mom at the movie theatre two years later, to watching Good Will Hunting in high school when I first fell in love with Matt Damon.

I watched Dead Poet’s Society during a college class, and that was my first introduction to the concept of “Carpe Diem”.  If you want to know a secret about me, I love to my make my email/computer passwords something positive and inspiring.  While I switch them up from time to time, for awhile my password was “carpediem” which, every time that I typed it, reminded me of this scene in the movie.

All I can hope is that Robin Williams’ death will bring a greater spotlight to the importance of mental health education and awareness, and I’m so grateful to Kevin Briggs and the many others who are working to bring attention to this issue.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem;  there is always help available to you and there are always people who care.

What will you do to Carpe Diem today?