NEWS reports of and social media comments following the death of Robin Williams have highlighted a lack of understanding of depression and suicide, according to Swindon’s mental health services.

Comments such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweet “Genie, you’re free” have been well-intentioned but ill-judged, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership has said.

AWP consultant nurse Chris Ellis, a leader in the field of suicide prevention, insisted suicide was neither inevitable nor liberating.

“Suicide can be prevented,” Chris said. “Suicide is an incredibly complex issue and is rarely a result of a single specific issue, such as money problems, in a person’s life.

“There are things that a person considering suicide can do: seeking and accepting help from friends, relatives or professionals is vital. Someone actively contemplating suicide is unlikely to be able to problem solve or think clearly if they are feeling desperate and help from others can literally be life saving.

“As well as services such as LIFT, people who are considering suicide can access the Samaritans, or Papyrus for young people.”