VIDEO: Heartfelt Robin Williams tribute promotes mental health awareness

Erika Rybinsk wrote song “Robin, You’re Free” as tribute to late comedian

Erika Rybinski was inspired to write a song after hearing about the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams.

The song, “Robin, You’re Free,” was not only written as a tribute to one of her favourite actors, but to mental health awareness as well.

“It just goes to show that anybody can suffer from a mental illness and that people in general just need to have a greater understanding of the unique composition of each individual and that every individual has their own struggles, their own battles, regardless of how big or small their name is,” Rybinski, a musical education student at the University of Saskatchewan, said.

Rybinski’s initial reaction to hearing about William’s death was shock, but inspiration soon hit her.

“I was just moved to write a song and the inspiration came at such a crazy time. It was like two in the morning and something just clicked,” she said. “Just the idea of setting a robin free and letting it fly away clicked in my mind and the lyrics just flowed right after that.”

Through writing the song, she wanted to promote a greater mental health awareness because some of the lyrics outline that.

“Because mental illness is an invisible illness, you can’t see physical symptoms, I think it’s important that more people understand the effects of it,” she said.

Rybinski added “by looking at somebody, you can’t understand their whole story because there is a unique storm that rages on within each person.”

She recorded the song on her iPhone and posted to YouTube the morning after writing it.

“My intention of sharing that song was not to get my name out there but to promote mental health awareness because I think it’s really important that the general society has a greater awareness of it,” she said.

Although the song is titled “Robin, You’re Free,” Rybinski said she is not promoting suicide as a way of becoming free.

“What I am implying by the title is that it is us, the people that are left behind, that have to come to accept the fact that the fate that Robin Williams chose was his choice, and it is us that have to set him free,” she said.

A quote from Erika

I intended this song to be geared more towards “mental health awareness”.. which is why I include the lyrical line “He made the other creatures around him smile, when a storm raged on all the while”. Mental illness is a silent ailment, and what I mean by that is that it typically does not show outward or physical symptoms. Thus I am pushing for a greater awareness of mental health issues that are readily pertinent in our society. In writing this song, I chatted with a few close friends who have either been diagnosed with a mental illness (ie. depression) or have family members affected by mental illness – so that I could gain a greater understanding of what those individuals feel. I agree 100% that suicide doesn’t set you free. I cannot imagine the darkness and desperation that individuals who either have suicidal thoughts or go through with their intentions, are emerged in. I agree 100% again with you, that suicide is not a release from depression. I do not promote suicide by any means, but in grasping the fact that Mr. Robin Williams has taken his life – it is us that must let him go, despite the shock and sadness we feel with this tragic event. I want nothing more than for people to realize that in our encounters with others, we cannot judge one’s character by what meets the eye. There is a unique chemistry to every individual – a concoction of emotion, mentality and soul that moves within each of us. I hope this makes sense to you and that you understand that I do not by any means promote suicide as the means to overcome depression – but for the general society to gain a greater awareness of the vast spectrum of mental illness.

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