The second man to walk on the moon spoke again about his struggles with depression after actor Robin Williams, 63, died Monday of an apparent suicide. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin urged compassion, and said those with the illness should have access to all the resources needed for treatment.
“I regarded Robin Williams as a friend and fellow sufferer. His passing is a great loss,” Aldrin wrote on his Facebook page yesterday (Aug. 12).
“The torment of depression and the complications of addiction that accompany it affect millions, including myself and family members before me – my grandfather committed suicide before I was born and my mother the year before I went to the moon – along with hundreds of veterans who come to a similar fate each year. As individuals and as a nation we need to be compassionate and supportive of all who suffer and give them the resources to face life.”
Williams rose to international fame in the 1980s after playing an alien Mork (from the planet Ork) on the sitcom Mork & Mindy. He also was noted for his roles in the movies Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin and Good Will Hunting, among many others. After his death was made public, NASA posted a link to Twitter of this video (below) of Williams giving a wake-up call to space shuttle crew STS-26 in 1988 in the style of his Army DJ character in Good Morning, Vietnam.
If you’re facing depression, mental health services are available in most jurisdictions to give you help. Across the United States, for example, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on its website or by phone, 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).