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Northwoods counselor says Willams suicide should shine a light on depression

RHINELANDER, Wis. (WXPR) -- The recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams has prompted a Northwoods professional to ask people having problems to come forward for help if they feel suicidal.

Heidi Karns is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Ministry Medical Group. She says Williams shocking death has put a spotlight on mental health issues. She says it's important to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and the challenges people with mental illness face each day.  "An important reminder is the day of Robin Williams' death, there were 107 other suicides that day which equals to one suicide every 13.7 minutes."

Karns says there are signs and symptoms of depression.  "A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, lack of energy, poor appetite or overeating, problems concentrating. For example you might have a TV show on and not comprehend what that TV show is about, problems falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much, and then there's some physical elements that go along with that."

Karns says if someone thinks a family member or friend is going through problems to offer support by listening and being there for the individual. She says the concerned person should offer to go with the person to meet with their primary provider to offer support.

She says if someone is contemplating suicide to call 9-1-1 or a local crisis number at 888-299-1188.