Depression: Out of the Shadows on PBS

I wish I’d seen this documentary months ago … then I might not have missed or misread the warning signs for suicidal depression that Gabe was exhibiting. These symptoms are used to diagnose adolescent depression, but could just as well have described my 23 year old:

  • Depressed mood or irritability (being extra-sensitive)
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in all or most activities
  • Weight change (up or down) or appetite disturbance (increase or decrease)
  • Insomnia (not able to sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Difficulty with psychomotor tasks (doing things very slowly)
  • Fatigue (tiredness) or lack of energy
  • Feeling worthless
  • Difficulty with concentrating, thinking or making decisions


Other warning signs include:

  • Sudden behavior changes
  • Anger, agitation or irritability
  • Risk-taking
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Withdrawal from social groups
  • Huge changes in dress and appearance
  • Constant boredom
  • Extreme sensitivity to being rejected or failing at something
  • Frequent complaints of physical symptoms (for example, stomachaches, headaches, sore throat) without a clear physical cause
  • Missing lots of school
  • Trying to run away from home
  • Having a hard time paying attention and concentrating


From the PBS depression fact sheet for adolescents and college age students:

“One out of four young adults will experience a depressive episode by age 24. Depression is caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environment and adverse life stressors. Teens that have chronic illnesses or have experienced trauma are at greater risk of developing depression. …

When your teen goes away to college they are exposed to many stressors that can lead them to develop depression or other mental illnesses. Moving away from friends and family, taking care of yourself for the first time (money, laundry, etc.), having to make new friends, and being academically challenged can be overwhelming. It’s harder to know how your teen is doing when they are away but you should know that surveys have shown that about 50% of college students report feeling so depressed that they have trouble functioning. Many colleges have established good mental health awareness programs and services to aid students. It’s a good idea to know ahead of time how these issues are handled.”

You can plug in your zipcode here to find out when Depression: Out of the Shadows airs on your local PBS station. I only caught part of it last night, but learned so much in that brief introduction that I’ll be watching and recording the entire show on station KCET tomorrow evening at 7pm.

The Depression: Out of the Shadows website includes plenty of informative resources and links. If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from depression, get the help you need. 

Update 5/24: I apologize to those of you who were looking for this documentary on KCET last night at 7pm. It was only on digital KCET and is not listed for the coming 2 weeks. I’ll post the next air time when I can confirm it.

Update 5/26: Depression: Out of the Shadows will air on station KOCE (Huntington Beach) on Thursday, May 29 at 8pm. I’m setting my Tivo this time. (At 7pm, a show called Men Get Depression Too will air.)



7 Comments on “Depression: Out of the Shadows on PBS

  1. Fifty percent! Is no one considering that there may be something wrong with our system of educating young people?

  2. That is a good question L.L. I think the problem runs deeper than the education system. I think these increasing rates of depression and suicide reflect larger societal trends and changes.

  3. Thanks Erunner, and welcome : )

    Many blessings to you~

  4. I saw most of this program and I was engrossed in the whole of it. The frank discussions of this illness and how courageous the people are who have it, touched me. It takes everything in them to start everyday, trying to get well, trying to hang on, and not having the quick cures, and not being understood. It’s hard work when one looks well on the outside and we don’t see inside the pain. The program gives hope to those seeking help, it gives the public knowledge to stir empathy, compassion and hopefully action… I hope they rerun this program. It was so much to take in so I want to see it again and I want others to see too.

  5. Pamela,

    Welcome. Yes, it was an excellent show. The one thing that surprised me and stuck with me was when Jane Pauley asked the psychiatrists at the end what the defining feature of depression is and one of them answered without missing a beat,
    “I’m a terrible person.”

    Much to ponder there.

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