CLEVELAND -- The news of Robin Williams' death has brought the issue of suicide prevention into focus.
The University Hospitals Case Medical Center is hoping the spotlight on suicide will prompt people to get the help they need, before it's too late.
Victor Gideon, a senior media relations strategist for University Hospitals, reports they're hoping the discussion brings more people to the Mood Disorders Program at the hospital.
"During depression people have thoughts that gravitate around being helpless and hopeless and worthless," Joseph Calabrese MD, the director of the program reports. "So, that makes somebody think about suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control reports depression is a major risk factor for suicide.
Caitlin Lewins lost her brother and her cousin to suicide. "We're trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together... like everybody does," Lewins told Channel 3's Hilary Golston. "You try to make sense of something that seems so meaningless."
She's also hoping that the Hollywood star's passing might help people get over the stigma associated with getting treatment for depression or thoughts of suicide.
"These are very serious, very biological illnesses," Dr. Calabrese reports. "These are not trivial illnesses. These are illnesses that kill people."
Calabrese points to signs of mental illness in Williams.' "One of the features of Robin Williams' speech that was very characteristic of bi-polar disorder is that his speech would be louder or faster. His thoughts would go faster than normal," Dr. Calabrese said.
In 2010, on average 105 people a day died by suicide, according to the CDC.
The CDC also reports an estimated 8.3 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts between 2008 and 2009.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 24 and second among people between the ages of 25 and 34.
Lewins has a message for anyone considering suicide. "The people that love you will be irreparably damaged and changed by your death... that your life is important," Lewins said. "The value of your life cannot be measured."
To learn more about the mood disorders program head, visit University Hospitals' Mood Disorders Research page.