“It’s hard for a lot of adults to understand the difference between being a teenager – with constantly shifting relationships with hormones, social circles, and sources of support – and being a teenager who is dealing with mental illness. A film produced this year by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention helps break down what being a teenager with depression can really mean. Aimed at educating teens about signs and symptoms of depression in themselves or friends, as an adult, I found the film to be a good reminder of why experiencing depression truly is being “more than sad.” (Excerpt from blog site “Promoting Hope, Preventing Suicide: Research and Advice on Preventing Teen and Adult Suicide”, by Elana Sandler, LCSW, MPH, www.psychologytoday.com )
This excerpt rings true for us at Josh’s Journey, and for my experience as the mother of Josh, a young adult struggling with mental illness. I wanted to believe the advice of loving friends and family that “this was just a phase” Josh was experiencing; or “that he will be okay”. In reality, my son Josh, was not always okay. The brain is a vital and complex organ. In individuals with mental illness, the brain is not operating up to par always, thus the complexity. These individuals need our help and guidance when things are not going the way they should. They need the trusted support of their loved ones, close friends, and alert community members to help them get better–to overcome the darkness that is associated with experiencing a mental illness. Education and awareness are crucial. The tools provided by the More Than Sad films, presented in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, serve to inform students, teachers, and other school personnel about teen depression and suicide prevention education.
There are two films in the More Than Sad series. The teen depression film features four character vignettes, each designed to present recognizable pictures of depression, reduce fears and misconceptions, and promote help-seeking behavior. The second film is designed to educate school personnel about the causes of youth suicide, warning signs, and steps they can take to get help for students. Observing changes in student behavior, and referring these students to appropriate help are key messages of the film. For more information including video clips of the films, visit www.morethansad.org.