Recognizing Depression and how you can help those suffering from the illness

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SHERMAN, TX -- After the passing of beloved comedian, Robin Williams earlier this week, social media has been inundated with articles and comments about suicide and depression.

Wednesday, News 12 spoke with a psychiatrist who says depression is a serious illness and it affects millions of people, maybe even someone you know.

According to the World Health Organization 350 million people around the world suffer from depression.

"This can be a lethal illness if you don't get help," said psychiatrist, Dr. Judy Cook.

This week, the world saw how devastating this disease can be.

California law enforcement reported that famed comedian, Robin Williams, committed suicide Monday in his home in California.

News of William's death shocked people around the world and right here in Texoma.

"You almost think that somebody who brings so much laughter would embody that themselves and so I was shocked," said resident, Crystal Womble.

Cook says many times those suffering from depression do all they can to try to hide it from their friends and family.

"A lot of time people really put out great effort to over-compensate and to go the other direction and that's partly a way to try to care for themselves, and partly a way of putting up a mask to deceive others," Cook said.

Cook says there are certain characteristics to look for if you suspect someone may be depressed and it's important to notice any changes in that person's behaviors.

"Obviously if it gets to the point where it's disturbing all those things -- your mood appetite, sleep, you know you're feeling suicidal, then it really does become more significant," Cook said.

She says always encourage the person to seek help.

"We train them with new skills, new ways to look at things, new ways to handle things, training them to really love themselves because all too often people don't love themselves," Cook said.

Williams' fans are saddened by his death but say they hope his death is a wake up call about the seriousness of depression, and say he will be remembered for making the world smile.

"Great comedian, loved by everyone, and brought so much laughter," said Womble.

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