SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) - It might start as mood or appetite changes and perhaps losing interest in things you normally love--all are symptoms of a illness millions of Americans battle every day. Depression can touch people from all walks of life and for some turns deadly.
"He was a wonderful person, a good father, husband and leader in this community. He said it was the deepest darkest hole he had ever been in. He just hit a rock wall I guess you'd say and just became depressed and was not able to snap out of it," said Marilyn Elliott.
She married her husband Robert and moved to Searcy 50 years ago. Robert, a radiologist, spent his days helping his patients battle cancer but began quietly losing a battle of his own.
"Robert being a doctor, he thought he could heal himself and so he would get off the medicine and when he would do that, he would spiral out of control," said Mrs. Elliott.
Dr. Elliott suffered from depression and took his own life Jan. 13, 2001.
"The community knew Robert and had worked with Robert, and they were quite shocked as we were," said Mrs. Elliott.
Shortly after, Mrs. Elliott started a foundation in his honor. Through 5K runs, education and support groups, the Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation is fighting depression and suicide in their community.
"There seems to be a stigma that goes along with depression and a little bit of shame that comes along with suicide and our goal at the Elliott foundation is to eliminate that stigma. You would not be blamed if you got cancer so why should you be blamed if you have depression or if you have suicidal thoughts?" said Executive Director Alana Pinchback.
It is a foundation that is bringing healing and hope to the suffering before it's too late.
"We had hoped that in this foundation that we would save one family from going through what we went through," said Mrs. Elliott.
The Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation also recently partnered with Searcy Public Schools to provide education and resources to students in need. They hope to bring the discussion of depression, self-harm and suicide into the classroom.