Celebrity deaths — especially the sudden kind — often produce wall-to-wall coverage on TV news, but the root causes behind these tragedies don’t always get the coverage many think is needed.
As Robin Williams’ suicide has taken over TV news this week, the not often talked about issue of depression has been thrust to the forefront on many networks. And one cable news host with expertise on the subject has a message for TV news talent and journalists.
“Stop thinking about it as a sensitive topic,” Dr. Drew Pinsky told TVNewser in an interview this afternoon. “Think of it like a topic like any other medical condition, like a cardiac problem, or a lung problem; it just happens to affect the brain.”
“It’s disturbing to me we talk about things like inner demons, which, for God’s sake, is sort of a language that comes out of the Middle Ages. They’re not inner demons; it’s a brain state precipitated by complicated interactions with the environment and it’s a biology that has a medical treatment.”
The coverage has surprised Dr. Drew in another way. “Michael Jackson [death] for some reason didn’t create an ongoing conversation about addiction and pharmaceutical drugs and drug abuse. Somehow, the joy Robin Williams brought us, and the love that everyone feels for him, and the body shot we’ve all taken hearing about his demise, has really given people permission to talk about depression.”