Although Robin Williams had talent, money and a long strike of accomplishments, he also had ongoing personal problems, such as depression and drug and alcohol addiction.

People who complete suicide typically have one thing in common: a sense of hopelessness, said Allen Miller, director of WellSpan Behavioral Health.

"A kind of hopelessness that things are not going to be much different or going to get much better for the person," he said.

Many people think about suicide at some point in their lives, but having those thoughts is "still pretty far away from actually contemplating doing it," Miller said.

The majority of those who take their own lives put a lot of thought and planning into the act, even though those around them might not be aware that they're contemplating it as an option, he said.

But in many cases, behavioral health specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers are able to successfully treat patients who are at imminent risk of completing suicide — even if they don't want treatment, Miller said.

One trigger for contemplating suicide is stress, he said.

People might start to have trouble meeting their obligations in life, such as work, personal relationships and parenting, Miller said.

"Different people will complete suicide at different times for different reasons ... Usually, a person isn't thinking about suicide when problems begin," he said. "That would be the time to talk to somebody."

That "somebody" could be a primary care provider, who can prescribe medication or refer patients to a behavioral health specialist, Miller said.


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"Ideally, (patients should) get into treatment earlier on and learn to deal with problems," he said. "So they don't get to that point of no hope."

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.

Getting help

If you or someone you know is in need of emergency crisis counseling, help is available through the following services:

WellSpan Behavioral Health

•To contact crisis intervention, call 1-800-673-2496 or 717-851-5320. Service is available 24 hours a day.

•Around-the-clock crisis centers are located in York Hospital and Gettysburg Hospital's emergency departments.

•Walk-in services are available at WellSpan's Crisis Intervention office, 1101 S. Edgar St., Suite C, near York Hospital. Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment necessary.

TrueNorth Wellness Services

•An emergency mobile crisis program is available 24 hours a day by calling 717-637-7633, 717-334-0468 or 866-325-0339. Services are available to anyone in York and Adams counties.