A Wake-Up Call About Depression

A Wake-Up Call About Depression

Doctor Phil is talking to INSIDE EDITION about the tragic suicide of Robin Williams.

He told INSIDE EDITION, "I am just so sorry that there was not someone there to intervene in this way. I would have given anything in the world for him to have called me. It can be so debilitating. You can't see it on an X-Ray. You go in and see a broken bone and go, 'Oh, that is real.' Depression is just as real as a broken bone."

The Oscar-winning star had been "battling severe depression" before he hanged himself Monday. His suicide is now throwing the spotlight on a disease many people are simply too embarrassed to talk about.

Robin Roberts said on Good Morning America, "We can talk about cancer, we can talk about all these different types of diseases and ailments but when it comes to depression, it seems like there's a stigma attached."

Williams was frank about his struggles with drug addiction and alcohol, but less forthcoming about his depression. Reports now say he was bi-polar.

Eerily, his movie character in the 2009 dark comedy World's Greatest Dad, appears on a TV show to talk about suicide, saying, "If you are that depressed, reach out to someone. Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems."

Some wonder if Williams’ depression was worsened by surgery he had in 2009 to replace a diseased heart valve. Depression is often an after-effect of open heart surgery.

Three years ago, Williams appeared on Ellen and put the best spin possible on his state of health.

Ellen said, "I have heard when you have heart surgery you can go into depression after that."

Williams responded, "No, I think for me it was exhilaration. I am alive!"

Fellow comic Chevy Chase mourned Williams on Tuesday, tweeting: "Robin and I were great friends, suffering from the same little known disease depression."

Dr. Phil told INSIDE EDITION the signs to watch for if you fear a loved one is battling depression but is reluctant to talk about it.

He said, "You will see in a decline in grooming. You will see a decline in activities. You will see a decline in interest. You will see them less active, less involved. These are signs that they are begining in distance and marginalize themselves."

The death of a great American and a tragedy seen by many as a wake-up call about the dangers of depression.