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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Actor’s death a reminder of red flags

The suicide of actor Robin Williams, 63, on Monday, Aug. 11, served as a reminder of the grief and questions that are left when someone chooses to take his or her own life.

Photo courtesy CBS.com

Photo courtesy CBS.com

“Suicide is an often times unpredictable event that leaves family members and friends with many unanswered questions,” said Howard Turney, director of the UALR School of Social Work. “These are questions that can leave loved ones with unending grief.”

Turney said suicide is associated with mood disorders like depression and anxiety and may be coupled with substance abuse.

“Family and friends should pay close attention to those around them who have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder,” Turney said.

“Though psychotherapy and medication management depressed people can get relief. Without help, the results can be devastating.”

Some symptoms of potential suicide include:

· Difficulty concentrating
· Disposing of personal possessions
· Alteration in behavior
· Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
· Self-destructive behavior
· Feelings of hopelessness
· A sense of guilt
· Alteration in sleeping habits
· Anger
· Abnormal anxiety
· Reckless behavior

These symptoms may be related to:

· A need to get away from a particular situation
· Aging
· Substance abuse dependency
· Emotional trauma
· Physical illness
· Financial issues

“Prevention means seeking help,” said Turney.

“People with these tendencies should talk to someone. A mental health professional can provide hope and healing for those considering giving up their life,” he said.

For more information about suicide prevention, Director Howard Turney may be reached at 501.569.8454 or hmturney@ualr.edu.