The death of comic and movie legend Robin Williams this week has exposed us again to subjects we would really rather not talk about. There’s a darkness and depth to suicide we’d rather not explore on most days but it cannot be ignored. Too many of our neighbors are dying at their own hand and it’s time to figure out why.

Williams a world famous celebrity and one of the most gifted people any of us will ever encounter took his own life after battling depression and substance abuse. His Oscar, 100 million dollar bankroll and all his Hollywood success was not enough to keep the dark clouds from rolling in and setting off a down pour of demons. The myth is that success… success beyond most of our wildest dreams makes everyone happy. The truth is it just isn’t enough some days. Emptiness you see in a person’s core cannot be filled with money and fame. It takes so much more.

Today we wrestle with why a man of such tremendous talent, impact and international respect would hang himself in the middle of the night in his bedroom, alone.

We will never know why Robin Williams made the final irreversible choice but we should acknowledge that nearly 40,000 Americans make the same devastating decision each year. It should serve as a clear warning from deep inside the coal mine of the American heart and mind; something is wrong. Very wrong. The numbers of Americans killing themselves is exploding. In Michigan where I’ve lived most of my life the problem is sadly far worse. Michigan has a suicide rate nearly 15% higher than the national average. Why? Again it’s a question we need to focus our energy on.

We will never know what triggered Robin Williams to make the ultimate decision. We can only try to combat the issues that may have triggered the loss of legendary entertainer.