Video to kick off local program on teen depression
“Day For Night; Recognizing Teen Depression,” a video that was inspired by Aspenite Hailey Dart, will be shown Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Aspen Chapel.
Following the movie, a panel comprised of Irvin Ebaugh, M.D.; Monica Ebaugh, Ph.D.; Jan Jones Sarpa, Ed.D.; and Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D.; will lead an informal discussion about depression.
Created by the Baltimore-based Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association (DRADA) and the Rodwell Dart Memorial Foundation, “Day For Night” examines teen depression, its symptoms and treatment. The 25-minute video features real stories of several students and their battles with depression.
Two years ago, Hailey Dart lost her 22-year-old son Roddy, who earlier had been diagnosed with manic depression. The experience moved Dart to raise awareness about teen depression and let teens, parents and educators know there are ways of treating depression.
“It has only been since the 1980s that we’ve come to realize that children, like adults, have mood disorders too,” said Dr. Paramjit Joshi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “It should be viewed as a medical illness, just like diabetes and epilepsy, and should not be taken lightly.”
Dart teamed up with DRADA, which works in cooperation with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, to produce the video.
Depression remains largely undiagnosed – 70 percent of its sufferers are never helped – but it’s still very common. An estimated 5 percent of teens suffer clinical depression or manic-depressive illness. And depression among teens, if undiagnosed and untreated, oftentimes results in suicide.
“This is not to say that everybody who commits suicide is depressed, but a high percentage are – 80 to 90 percent,” said Sally Mink, who develops programs for DRADA.
Dart’s next goal is to raise money for 25,000 copies of “Day and Night” to be sent to middle schools and high schools across the country. She aims to make information about depression on par with information now being distributed to students about sex, and drugs and alcohol.
“Now more than ever before, people are beginning to truly understand depression and its effect on people of all ages,” said Dart. “We have to dispel the myths surrounding mental illness.”
In the movie, teens who are being treated for depression talk of mood swings, dramatic changes in their grades, a loss of interest in hobbies, crabbiness, acting out with their parents, and thoughts of suicide. They also talk about how depression feels, and how important it is to get help.
When you’re really depressed, one teen says, you don’t want treatment. “You want to prove you are strong enough to deal with it,” another girl said.
Tuesday’s video and discussion are free, and anyone interested is invited to attend.
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