The path forward for returning veterans can be bolstered by treatment, therapy, and medication; but is also too often marked by addiction and suicide. Ultimately, Brandon would find his footing in the same place that his relentless sense of adventure took him as a boy growing up outside Cleveland - the outdoors.
Environmental factors such as stress, sleep disruption, and drug or alcohol use may also trigger manic-depressive episodes, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important -- proper nutrition and sleep, handling stress, finding a support network and psychotherapy can all help manage bipolar disorder.
Because mental health is a taboo subject in the African-American community, black people, and specifically black women, are not only one of the least likely groups to be treated or to seek treatment for depression, they're also less likely than other groups to even acknowledge it as a serious problem
When someone like Robin Williams takes his own life, it's a stunning reminder of how powerful emotional anguish can be. It's a reminder that profound emotional pain can occur in the talented, the successful, the admired, the well-loved. And it's a reminder of how difficult it can be to reach someone struggling with depression -- especially someone who thinks you don't want to hear about it.
I know that substance abuse problems vary in terms of severity, fright and heartbreak, and yet I am optimistic! In research and clinical work alike, I've seen the evidence over the past 40 years that families and friends make a difference in helping someone who struggles with drinking, drugs or other compulsive behaviors. Often, it is the critical difference.