Understanding Depression

Robin Williams’ suicide shocked the world last week. He is well known for his comedic rolls in television and film. In the 2009 movie World’s Greatest Dad, Williams’ character even makes a statement about suicide and its permanence. Though the blow of the news continues to make waves, the gravity of depression’s effects should be making even bigger waves.

Many people misunderstand the seriousness of the disease and confuse it with just being down-in-the-dumps. However, as Fr. Mark-David Janus, CSP, writes in an article for Busted Halo®, depression deeply affects the lives of those who suffer from it. (A recent Busted Halo® Cast podcast answered a question about how the Catholic Church views those who commit suicide.) As a young adult going through major life changes (e.g., college, getting a job for the first time, not getting a job for the first time, moving away from home, etc.) depression may be very common. Share this Busted Halo® article and podcast with young adults and discuss depression, and how you can reach out to friends who suffer with depression or another mental illness.

  • Have you ever been depressed? If so, how did you get through it?
  • What are some ways that you can help a person who seems depressed or on the verge of taking drastic measures to cure their sadness?
  • How can you help spread awareness about depression and promote a culture of acceptance of people who live with depression and other mental illnesses? How does your family, church, or wider community show this kind of awareness/acceptance? How can it improve?
  • If you are depressed, do not hesitate to reach out to someone you trust and confide in them about how you feel. If you know someone who is depressed, reach out to him or her and offer your support.