As many are aware by now, the legendary Robin Williams took his life Monday morning on August 11th. Grim, heart-wrenching details surfaced regarding the nature of his suicide, but we are here today to focus on the morals we can take from his story. Depression is bound to affect everyone at some point or another. Before you journey down a difficult road littered with debilitating symptoms, read ahead for ways to safeguard yourself against depression.

Assess Your Feelings

The severity of presenting depression symptoms should be examined for an effective solution. This is typical protocol of many general mental health facilities scattered across the country: You assess the problem, then develop a service plan. Likewise, try to determine where you stand in the process. And seek professional counseling if need be.

Confide in Someone

The first step is to speak up. Sure, it’s cliche, but shame absolutely hides in secrecy. And how ironic is it that depression affects so many lives, yet we’re ashamed to talk about it? You can take one of two routes: Grab a friend or a trustworthy family member or lean on professional help, such as a therapist or psychiatrist. Determine what works best for you, and speak your truth.

Journal

Make it a habit to write how you feel, especially if you can’t find someone to speak with. Journaling not only allows for a space to express how you feel, it also tracks progress. Who knows? Maybe once you’re feeling better and more positive, you can reflect on how far you’ve come.

Share Your Story

A little bit of empathy goes a long ways. What you’re experiencing could be very similar to someone else’s struggles. Take a bold, courageous step by sharing your story and take note of the impact you have on others.