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The world is shocked and saddened by the suicide of Robin Williams. I, too, know the pain of suicide. I lost my 34-year-old daughter, Robin Leferink, to suicide one year ago. Words can never express the agony of losing a child. The common denominator is mental illness.

During her last year of life, only those few closest to her witnessed her bipolar disorder. I now know she suffered for years with undiagnosed symptoms hidden from those around her while she tried desperately to feel and act normally. She was beautiful, kind, intelligent, educated and adventurous and made significant contributions to this world. She loved and was loved by many.

So why does suicide become the final treatment for relief from their symptoms? Robin Williams had every resource available to him. It is not enough. We are in dire need of research into brain diseases. We need means to diagnose disorders. We need effective medications and treatments. We need more psychiatrists. We need more treatment centers. We need more hospital beds. We need to contact our representatives and demand they make this a priority.

Please start the conversation. Suicide prevention has to come with effective treatment for the underlying causes.

Kathy Henderson



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