Somehow, the folks at TED manage to gather amazing individuals with powerful voices to speak up about difficult topics. Here are some TED Talks on depression and suicide that I found particularly imnpressive.
Nikki Webber Allen: Don’t Suffer Your Depression in Silence
When Nikki Webber Allen was first diagnosed with depression, she didn’t tell anyone, because “I didn’t think I had the right to be depressed.” She attempted to self-medicate through high achievement. It wasn’t until her nephew, who she hadn’t known was depressed, died by suicide that she decided to share her story.
Andrew Solomon: Depression, The Secret We Share
Andrew Solomon described depression as something “braided so deep into us there was no separating it from our character or personality”. He observed that depression makes it seem like a veil of happiness has been removed from the world so that the depressing truth is made visible. He described the current state of treatment as “appalling”.
Kevin Breel: Confessions of a Depressed Comic
Kevin Breel points out that depression often happens to people who don’t seem like they should be depressed. He spoke passionately about the silencing effect of stigma, and the need to shatter that silence. He described depression as society’s deep cut that we simply slap a bandaid on.
Sherwin Nuland: How Electroshock Therapy Changed My Life
Sherwin Nuland shared how his life was saved by ECT in the 1970s. At that time, most of his doctors had identified a lobotomy as the only option, and it was a medical resident that actually pushed for ECT. After 20 treatments he’d experienced a significant response and finally was able to feel hope. He came up with safe words to manage obsessive thoughts, and I think they’re just perfect: “Ah, fuck it”.
Kevin Briggs: The Bridge Between Suicide and Life
Kevin Briggs worked for many years for the California Highway Patrol, and he was often called to suicide attempters on the Golden Gate Bridge. He was struck by how well people responded to being listened to. He sends a strong message that there is hope, and suicide is preventable.
JD Schramm: Break the Silence For Suicide Attempt Survivors
In this short talk, JD Schramm addresses the taboos around suicide that silence and isolate people. He brings up some disturbing statistics, and issues a call to speak up about suicide and provide resources to those who have survived suicide attempts.
The suicide & mental illness resource page has info on suicidal thinking, crisis lines and safety planning, along with straight talk on suicide.
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