'They cancel themselves out in my mind' ... Henry Rollins' harsh view on suicide.

"They cancel themselves out in my mind": Henry Rollins' harsh view on suicide.

Punk icon, actor and writer Henry Rollins is facing a withering backlash across all media for a harsh but typically uncompromising blog criticising Robin Williams' suicide.

Rollins, the former lead singer of underground punk act Black Flag and most recently found mainstream fame with a role in the HBO series Sons of Anarchy, attacked Williams mainly because he left three children behind.

Robin Williams's suicide now under attack from Henry Rollins.

Controversial death: Robin Williams's suicide is under attack from Henry Rollins. Photo: AP

"How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children?" Rollins wrote in an inflammatory comment piece in Thursday's LA Weekly.

"I don't care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing ... as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life  ... it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids."

On Friday two Australian pyschologists contradicted Rollins' comments as "unhelpful".

Sally-Anne McCormack said Rollins was "trying to interpret something he doesn't understand".

"People do not do it to make life easier for themselves, or because they are copping out, they believe in their unhealthy, foggy mental state that they are making life easier for those around them. They believe at that lowest possible moment that it is the best decision for their family.

"Of course families don't see it that way and they'd rather have [that person alive] in whatever state they are. What is required is urgent professional intervention to be able to see their situation from a clearer perspective."

Dr Melissa Keogh said labelling people with children who suicide as 'selfish' was "simplistic".

"We know that self-centred individuals who do get depressed tend not to stay depressed for as long as their less self oriented counterparts.

"Melancholic depression is a serious illness and the brain is just not functioning in the same way as it does in non depressed people.  For some people being able to see any other way out is just not possible and it is this utter hopelessness that contributes to suicide."

Williams committed suicide at home in California last week aged 63.

Rollins, 53, wrote that Williams was "a good man" and that he admired some of Williams' work - he found Good Will Hunting "brave and excellent work" - but apparently believes people mainly grieved for the comedian because he was well known.

"When someone with this level of exposure dies in this way, it is confusing. An Oscar-winning actor, well-paid, with a career that most performers could only dream of — how could anyone so well regarded and seemingly fortunate have as much as even a single bad day, much less a life so unendurable that it has to be voluntarily voided?"

Rollins is well known for his at-times brilliant but no-holds-barred spoken word performances. But in cold hard text, some of his observations on suicide just looked plain cold. Take this: "When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind. I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of disdain."

Rollins wrote of personally knowing people who had taken their lives and despite admitting "I am no doctor" offered the advice: "Life isn't anything but what you make it."

"For all the people who walked from the grocery store back to their house, only to be met by a robber who shot them in the head for nothing — you gotta hang in there."

Then, with almost stunning insensitivity, Rollins closed his blog with this: "I have life by the neck and drag it along. Rarely does it move fast enough. Raw Power forever."

Reaction on social media to Rollins' opinion piece was swift and almost universally damning. A handful of fans said Rollins had sparked debate about suicide but most commenters were offended. For a man who so often treads the right side of a fine line on controversial topics, this time it seems Rollins' good judgement has failed him.

Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.