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Robin Williams' death puts national spotlight on depression

STATEWIDE (WGME) -- Robin Williams' apparent suicide put the spotlight on the issue of depression.

People wonder how a man known for making others laugh could have been so overcome with depression that he took his own life.

The 63 year-old had a long history of alcoholism and drug addiction. However, his media representative said he recently battled "severe depression" and entered into a 12-step rehab stint in July in order to maintain his sobriety.

CBS 13 News spoke with a mental health expert in Maine about Robin Williams' bout with depression

"The thing that's interesting about a comedian dying by suicide is that it seems like a contradiction in our minds," said Jenna Mehnert, executive director of NAMI Maine. "But that's also because we have such a narrow view of depression, and realizing that someone often takes their own life by suicide because they feel hopeless and they don't see a way of recovery."

Mehnert also says the Mental Health Alliance Helpline can be a valuable resource if you or someone you know is struggling with depression.

She says it's also helpful for people who want to know how to speak with a friend or loved one who may be dealing with depression.

National Alliance on Mental Health-Maine
Helpline: (800) 464-5767