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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Robin Williams' Star Power Shines Light on Suicide, Depression

PHOTO: Actor and comedian Robin Williams reportedly took his own life on Monday. A memorial has sprung up outside the house in Boulder CO where parts of his show Mork and Mindy was filmed. Photo credit: David Crandall
PHOTO: Actor and comedian Robin Williams reportedly took his own life on Monday. A memorial has sprung up outside the house in Boulder CO where parts of his show Mork and Mindy was filmed. Photo credit: David Crandall
August 13, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - As details emerge about the reported suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams on Monday, family members and friends acknowledge he was suffering from a long battle with depression. Many Florida families suffer the same anguish, and suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the state.

Betsey Westuba, who chairs the Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition, said she hopes Williams' death serves as a reminder to help people who may be suffering from depression.

"It's a biological disease," she said. "Just as we have bodily diseases, we have brain diseases - and, so often, people don't want to acknowledge that."

Last year, more than 2,800 Floridians committed suicide, or about eight people a day. It is the second leading cause of death for people ages 25 to 34.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline has help available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255. Warning signs that someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts include a sense of hopelessness, apathy and extreme changes in behavior.

Westuba said she has a family history of depression, and a brother who committed suicide in 2007.

"Remember that there are many, many people that go through depression, but they are able to get through it," she said. "We can help to teach each other skills. We need to educate each other."

Mental-health experts recommend reaching out to people who may be suffering from depression. She said pets sometimes lift the spirits of those who are depressed, and making future plans may help provide them with a sense of hope.

More information is online at floridasuicideprevention.org.

Stephanie Carson/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - FL