The last place for ignorance
Robin Williams' suicide was a tragedy. For those who only saw the zany public persona, it seemed inexplicable. Yet former professional footballer and broadcaster Alan Brazil's reaction reveals that mental health remains deeply stigmatised.
Alan Brazil provoked a furious backlash after announcing live on his radio station Talksport that he felt little sympathy for Robin Williams. Brazil has had to back-pedal, given that his comments seem to have inexplicably arrived in 2014 after being unearthed from a time capsule buried in some Dickensian vault in the 19th century.
No stranger to controversy, in 2011 he threatened to quit his £1,200 per 4-hour show unless he received a pay rise. But Brazil's current outburst makes you wonder why such a huge salary should be paid to someone with such a small mind.
Depression is widely recognised as a potentially devastating medical condition that affects individuals of all social classes, ethnicity, genders and sexual orientations. It destroys lives. As a former professional footballer, Brazil must appreciate that being in a well-paid occupation is no shield from inner demons - as the death of Welsh national manager Gary Speed demonstrated in 2011.
Brazil's boorish insensitivity is hardly unique. But whenever some loud-mouthed broadcaster like himself or Jeremy Clarkson chooses to belittle the life-or-death traumas faced by the mentally ill they are stigmatizing mental illness. When that happens sufferers become less amenable to seeking help. Then they die.