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Williams’ death shines light on depression; local therapist offers suggestions

Updated: Tuesday, August 12 2014, 05:56 PM EDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- With the recent suicide of America's beloved comedian, Robin Williams, the spotlight is once again on the subject of suicide and depression.
For years, Williams made us laugh, and recently the news of his death even made some of us cry. Sometimes depression isn't always apparent, until it's too late. The Jefferson Behavioral Health System in Steubenville, and place it like it, provide support and aids in the process of recovery.
Bill Persinger, an outpatient therapist at JBHS, says those who may be suicidal generally want help.
"We have them come in; they can first use the helpline,” Persinger said. “We assess the situation over the phone,  and if they are truly suicidal, we kinda work with them, then our mission is to get them evaluated through Trinity. “If we are able to stabilize them on the phone, we encourage them to come in maybe next day, get an assessment and get hooked up with a therapist ASAP. "
The JBHS has been around since the 60s and also treats mental health, alcohol and drug addiction. Persinger has dealt with suicidal patients during his 20 years with the center and has spotted manic depression in some of his patients -- a sign he believes he saw in Robin Williams while watching him in past interviews.
Persinger’s message to those who might be dealing with depression or thoughts of suicide is clear:
"Reach out,” he said. “I would say to them don't worry about the stigma of mental health that's out there. That depression is, to me, a medical disorder that can be treated, and don't feel like you're alone. Reach out, there are various agencies along with ours in the valley and get the help."
The Jefferson Behavioral Health System also offer youth programs as well. The youth department is located in Mingo Junction. If you or a loved one would like more information, or to contact Jefferson Behavioral Health Systems, visit

Williams’ death shines light on depression; local therapist offers suggestions

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