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The Other Side of Blue

The Other Side of Blue

There is a widespread belief that depression in adolescence and young adulthood is normal - that moodiness and "the blues" are almost a rite of passage. To some extent this may be true, yet it dangerously masks the fact that eight to ten percent of teens suffer from true clinical depression. Young people with undiagnosed depression may appear irritable rather than sad. They may be angry, argumentative, or even violent; may get in trouble in school or with the law; may self-medicate with alcohol and drugs; and, in all to many cases, may attempt suicide. A tragically large number of such attempts succeed.

Brianna felt that she had no future: "There's nothing good inside of me, there's nothing good outside of me. Why would I want to be in this world?" Darren hurt inside but was ashamed to admit he needed help. "I was in the tough crowd," he says, "Tough guys don't go to psychiatrists." Lauren was always tired, and cried constantly. Unable to connect with others, she spent much of her time in bed. "When you're really depressed there's no ladder, you're so far down." Chris was diagnosed with clinical depression for the first time after he attempted suicide. "I really had no sense of self-worth. To me it didn't matter if I died or lived." Once diagnosed, he realized that he had probably had the illness for most of his life.

In addition to the honest testimonies of these four engaging young people, the film includes commentary by two psychiatrists and a social worker who work with teens, and who provide helpful context on the nature, causes, symptoms, and consequences of clinical depression, what makes teenage depression different, its impact on families, and available treatments, as well as how the continuing social stigma associated with depression blocks some teens from seeking help. This profoundly touching and provocative video is must viewing for college and high school audiences, as well as for those who love and work with them.

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