Man, Robin Williams. It’s just so sad.
I’ve been thinking this morning of a scene from the West Wing – not a Robin Williams, clip, obviously (my brain just went on a delightful tangent imagining how much Aaron Sorkin and Robin Williams would have probably hated each other), but because it’s one of my favorite depictions of the exact thing to say to help a friend who is hurting.
I’ve never suffered from depression, but it’s touched so many that I care about. I’m glad they feel empowered to seek treatment for it, to seek understanding, to take care of themselves.
Last year the CEO of my company got on an all employee call and, on a call reserved for earnings and stock and corporate strategy, she instead spoke bluntly about the recent suicide of her nephew, her own history with mental depression in her family, and how it has impacted and continues to impact her life. She then reminded her employees – all 3,500 of them – that they have access to health insurance, which includes tools for managing mental health, and they should use them as readily as they would use the insurance to treat high blood pressure or diabetes, that there is no stigma in treating your health conditions like a health condition just because it is mental health. And then she encouraged us to be kind to one another, because you never know what people are dealing with outside the walls of the office.
She was, in a very powerful way, telling an entire company that she’d been down there before, and she knew the way out.
There’s no good wrap up to a story like this – her leadership and message were extraordinary, and I hope it becomes common, and not prompted by personal experience with suicide.
It’s just all so sad.