The Guardian UK and The Washington Post were among the outlets to explore data surrounding mental health since the suicide of comedian Robin Williams earlier this week. (The Post explored the challenges of getting help for mental health, while the Guardian explored the mental health of those in England and Wales.) We admire news outlets taking a look at this issue, but the data approach here seems superficial. We won’t assign any darts or laurels to news organizations for trying explain the topic through numbers so shortly after a major news event. But we hope that mental health will remain a compelling news topic long after Williams’ death and continue to be explored through data and other means.

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Tanveer Ali is a Chicago-based journalist who is Chicago's data reporter and social media producer. He has reported for the Chicago News Cooperative, WBEZ, and GOOD Magazine, among others. A former staff writer at the Detroit News, he received a master's in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.