When a family member commits suicide

When a family member commits suicide

I didn't know Robin Williams personally, but learning of his suicide opened an old wound.

In 1975, when I was 21 and my mother was 51, she took her life. She started her car in an enclosed garage and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In the United States, nearly 40,000 people commit suicide each year. More than 90 percent of those who commit suicide suffer from a serious mental illness prior to their deaths. My mother had been diagnosed with manic depression, now known as bipolar disorder. She'd been medicated, treated with electro-shock therapy, and hospitalized dozens of times. Knowing her diagnosis and watching her struggle with the demons of her mental illness for close...