August 19, 2014

Prechter Fund Founder Reflects on the Robin Williams Tragedy, Stresses Importance of Continued Research

On August 11, 2014, the comedic genius of Robin Williams was quieted in what appears to be the same tragic and unthinkable way the entrepreneurial genius of my husband Heinz, was quieted over 13 years ago. Mr. William's painful passing was a stark reminder that depressive disorders and mental illness do not discriminate. No one is immune. These illnesses touch all walks of society, from A-list celebrities to captains of industry to thousands more across America and the world.

It may not be headline news, but every 13 minutes someone takes his or her own life.

Yes, we have made great progress at the Prechter Fund and we are proud of these strides. However we need to continue this momentum by pushing for a national movement - a mandate - on mental health. There should be a cohesive, focused effort all across this nation to develop more and better research and to help create personalized ways to treat individuals. We, too must continue to encourage the brilliant scientific minds in this country to work cooperatively, not separately, to develop a better understanding of the intricacies of the brain.

To our friends, our patients, our research participants and their family members, our wonderful team under Dr. McInnis, I thank you for your determination and dedication to the research that the Prechter Fund supports. With your help, we are beginning to make a difference!

Mr. Williams made us laugh, and in the end he made us cry. He left us a legacy of incredible films and television treasures. Although his life was extinguished far too early, his death shined a spotlight on depressive illness, which hopefully, will translate into a better understanding of mental disorders as well as the crucial need for continued research.

Wally Prechter
President and Founder, Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund