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brain-cerebellumDepression and bipolar disorder are often regarded, inaccurately, as non-medical conditions, so it is encouraging when new research reveals more about the actual medical and physical components of these mental illnesses. Not only does this provide some affirmation to those who may be struggling, but it also offers insight into specific types of treatment that may be effective.

Julie Totten, Founder, departs Families for Depression AwarenessIt has been 14 years since I founded Families for Depression Awareness out of my apartment as just a dream to raise awareness of depression and prevent suicides, which you have helped make a reality. Now the time has come for me to step down as executive director and start a new chapter in my life.

I am pleased to announce that Susan Weinstein and Valerie Cordero will take over as Interim Co-Executive Directors of Families for Depression Awareness working with Carol Thomas, our board chair and our entire dedicated board of directors and staff. Susan and Valerie have been working with me as a team for a number of years and are more than capable of running Families for Depression Awareness. I feel very comfortable leaving the organization with such strong staff and board leadership.

Dan with son, AlexI lost my beloved 17-year-old son Alex to suicide four years ago. Alex was a smart high school senior who was interested in math and electric cars. He had a good sense of humor and planned to go to college. But, Alex was dealing with more than we recognized. 

Woman walking on the beach with daughterWhen I was in my early twenties, I was pregnant with my daughter Trinity. I had a difficult labor and painful post-pregnancy complications. Eventually, I slipped into depression. I was thousands of miles away from my family and support system. I felt hopeless and didn’t have the energy to do anything, let alone take care of Trinity or my husband.

One day, I found myself on a rooftop ready to jump and end my life.

Valerie CorderoLike you, I am passionate about preventing suicides and helping families that are struggling with mental health conditions. One way you can help is by asking your family and friends to donate to Families for Depression Awareness during the holiday season.
I've had depression ever since I was a kid. I learned to hide my sadness from family and friends. By the time I was 16, I was having a hard time getting up in the morning and I wasn't doing well in school. The recent death of my grandfather hurt me so much that I wondered why I was even alive. I finally confided in my therapist and together with my parents we decided that I needed to be hospitalized.

Some people use creative expression to help in coming to terms with their mental health conditions. Recently, Molly shared with us some of her doodles dealing with mental health. We think they are more than just doodles. Rather, Molly has found a way to couple her diagnoses with her creativity in order to very clearly express to the world how depression and anxiety feel to her.

teenfamilyThe mental health of teenagers is largely impacted by how well their parents understand them, according to a recent study published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine. Those whose parents had a better grasp of both the stressors of the teen’s day and the teen’s perspective on their relationship with the parent had lower levels of depression.

manstressAll of us experience stress to some degree, but the impacts of small stressors may be larger than we think. We know that high levels of stress can increase risk of health problems such as heart disease and can be hazardous to your health or even deadly. A new study found that it’s not just major stressors that are a problem.

Watch the Teen Depression webinar to learn to help a teenFor adolescents, mental and physical changes coupled with family and social dynamics can be overwhelming. In some cases, teen stress left unaddressed can lead to depression.

Research from Temple University indicates that stressful life events, particularly interpersonal relationship stress, increase the likelihood of depression.


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If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 800-273-TALK or 911 immediately. For crisis support via text message, text LISTEN to 741741.