Local mental health advocates are trying to turn the tragedy of actor/comedian Robin Williams' death into an opportunity to help get help to those who had the same problems he did.
"We really don't know a person. No one really knows what another person is going through," said Sylvia Phillips, a mental health advocate with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Chattanooga.
She says the group is working to break down the stigma.
She says most people don't know how to reach out to those battling depression, substance abuse and other issues.
"You can still be a friend and just be an ear. And if you know about different services or providers in your area, tell them about those services," said Phillips.
That's what William Honeycutt had to do when his late daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
"At first yes, but that's the way with every family," said Honeycutt. "It's hard for you to accept and then you start reading up on it and you come to a conclusion of what it is and you start dealing with it."
Williams tried to deal with it - going in and out of rehab for years for addiction.
"Also we use medication sometimes to mask it, and we don't really know if it's the depression or the physical illness that's causing certain things," said Tricia Henderson, a licensed counselor and Assistant Director for Mental Health at U.T.C.
"Anything that starts to impact your daily life, you feel like you're having negative consequences that you're suffering like you can't go to work, you're not spending as much time with your friends and family, those would be signs that something's going on."
Toxicology reports on Williams' death won't be available for several weeks, investigators said.
Experts said if you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness to get help. There are several resources available for help including, the National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI) in Chattanooga at 423-827-4049, the Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services
(CADAS) at 423-756-7644, and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline
at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). NAMI is hosting a conference called "Saving Live in SE Tennessee" with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at Christ United Methodist Church at 8645 East Brainerd Road in Chattanooga on Sept. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $15, including lunch. For more information, visit TSPN.org.By Briona Arradondo