In blogging circles there is a widely held theory (proven I think), that if you title your post 'TITS! BOOBIES!!! MORE TITS!!!' you will get record hits. I think with this post I'll probably prove the corollary ;-)
I found the coverage of Robin William's suicide interesting. For a while he was almost literally the poster boy for male depression, such were the number of memes (like the one I shared the other day) that his death sprouted. In the media there were a lot of very thoughtful articles and reports about how depression, self-harm and suicide were hidden epidemics affecting the male population.
Yet, old tropes still came up. I can imagine editors sitting around saying "But what did he have to be depressed about? There must be another story here." So, as in the beginning of 'Citizen Kane', we seemed to have reported set out to find reasons. We got the old 'Tears of the Clown' stories with articles about how depression is the price of comic genius (just as alcoholism is the price of being a writer; or serving in Flanders is a required qualification for writing poetry); we got articles about how divorce and property deals had whittled away his fortune. And then came the statement from the family that Williams had be diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease: and you could practically hear a collective sigh of relief - "Of course he was depressed." The articles about mental health dried up.
Well I'm sorry, that's not how it works. Depression isn't logical, and suicide especially isn't. It would be nice if it was: the we'd only have to identify what was bothering someone and remove it, then they'd be able to snap out of it and pull themselves together. As if...
Of course if you have worries it all adds up, but depression strikes everyone, millionaires and members of supportive families just as it affects the unemployed, the homeless and the lonely. And that's not even to mention Anxiety, which I'm not going to touch on.
And now a happier story
This isn't something I'm involved in, but news of it popped into my Facebook feed this afternoon.
The Aftermath Gaming Club in Norwich will be running a 24-hour gaming event in aid of WAAC, starting at 10.00am on Saturday 23 August and lasting 24 hours. Details here.
WAAC is 'Wargamers All Against Cancer' set up after a wargamer's mother was diagnosed with cancer. It is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support - details of WAAC can be found on their Just Giving page, where you can make donations (they're already very near their £3,000 target, hopefully they will make more).