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Depression: Out of the Shadows

This 2008 PBS film weaves together the science of depression with the experiences of families and individuals facing the disease. These stories offer insight, help and hope.

Depression in Young People:

The Maturing Brain:


  • Like most people, Emma’s depression did not have a single cause. What challenges do teenagers and young people face that might prompt or add to depressed or anxious feelings?

  • Depression among young people is common. Where can adolescents and teenagers seek support in your community? 

  • If you were Emma’s friend or neighbor, how might you help her or her family?

  • Youth of color tend to show higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to their white peers. What additional obstacles might these teens face?


  • The human brain keeps growing and changing well into our twenties. What health habits can we follow (and help our loved ones practice) to foster good brain health during time of transition? What might we avoid? 

  • As young people mature, they become more aware of financial, racial, educational or cultural barriers faced by their families. How might these obstacles affect young people’s willingness to talk about or seek help for depression?

  • Scientists at the National Institutes of Health study the brain using high-tech tools like MRI machines. Do you think you’d enjoy a neuroscience or mental health career?

  • In addition to learning more about depression, what else might scientists discover from brain imaging and similar practices?

  • What kind of technology or device could you design to treat depression? What would it do and how might it work?

Help and Hope:


  • Depression is a disease that affects how the brain functions. Can you think of other diseases that affect a specific part of the body? How are these diseases the same or different as depression? 

  • How and why do we think or talk about depression in ways that are different from other diseases?

  • Antidepressants are medications that have helped many people recover from or manage depression. What are other ways for treating or managing this disease?

  • What are some ways family and friends of people with depression can care for themselves as they support their loved one?

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