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Depression Resources

If you haven’t already, watch my seven-minute speech on depression.  The number of people who’ve watched it and spoken to their family to establish a dialogue on mental health or gotten help themselves is inspiring to me.  Mental health is hard.  You’re not alone.


Before further recommendations, I’ve found two books valuable since I wrote this post.

If you’re taking medication for mental health, read The Antidepressant Solution.  Any time I changed medication doses, I always thought I was crazy.  I felt weird.  I felt tired.  For a little while, then things would get better.  Doctors, therapists, psychiatrists never did a good job explaining why.  This book not only explains why, but also provides a more thoughtful approach to changing doses or weening off medication.  Any time a doctor told me how to ween off a medication it was one-size-fits-all.  Cut your dose in half.  Maybe cut it in half again.  Then stop taking it.  That works for some people, not all.  You might rebound.  Things might get worse.  That’s a bad feeling when you’ve put in so much hard work to improve.  Read the book and you’ll be better informed than many doctors on how to reduce these medications with the least impacts.

This is not a book I’d read while I’m actively working on a mental health issue or changing medications.  It will upset you.  The book is Anatomy of an Epidemic.  When you’re stable, it might be worth reading to become more knowledgable on how these medications were researched and introduced to the public and what the systemic effects have been.  I was mad after I read it.  Like I want to punch a heavy bag until my knuckles are bloody mad.  After time passed, I don’t think medications are ineffective.  I think it’s good to know the history, another perspective, and decide for yourself how to approach your medications.

If you’re taking generics you may want to listen to this Peter Attia podcast with Katherine Eban.  It doesn’t directly discuss mental health medications but generics more broadly.  You might come away not trusting your meds.  My interpretation is not that simple, but I pay attention whenever the manufacturer for any of my medications changes.


Besides getting professional help when you need it, my top recommendation to improve mental health is to improve your habits.  That takes work.  It takes experimenting.  It takes failing, picking yourself back up, and trying again.  All of that is hard when you’re depressed.  Still, you have to try.

I will continue to post my ideas for simple ways to improve in my habits guide.  For mental health I’d focus most these areas

  • Move more
    • walk five miles per day
    • start with walking an extra mile, every break in your workday
    • try group exercise
  • Eat better
    • unprocessed food
    • heavy veg
    • high-quality protein
    • fats like avocadoes, olive oil, nuts, good-quality dairy
  • Sleep well
    • move more
    • get sunlight as early as possible, as often as possible
    • reduce screen/blue light 1-2 hours before bed
    • set a cool bedroom temperature starting at 67 deg F
    • after your normal 9 am – 5 pm routine, reset your body/mind with exercise, a long walk, a hot bath

Which Person Are You?

Read the headings below and ask “Which situation am I in?”

Person 1 of 5: Someone Asked You to See a Therapist

If someone asks you to see a therapist, it’s because they care.  Maybe, you don’t need a therapist. What’s the harm?  To your ego.  I get that.  A waste of time?  It’s not much time to sacrifice for someone that cares that much about you.  Cares enough to be vulnerable.  Cares enough to risk your wrath, knowing that you won’t go.  If someone asked you to see a therapist and you declined, none of these words matter.  You’ve already decided.  Your mind is made up.  Your beliefs are locked in and your emotion flicks the deadbolt inward.  No worries.  This speech wasn’t for you.  Still, I hope you get better.  More than that, I hope someone who cares about you is reading.

Person 2 of 5: You Know Someone That Needs Help

If you are that person struggling to help someone you love – “your person”, keep fighting.  The only other decision I’ve seen is to decide that “your person” is a lost cause.  Only you can make that call, but my recommendation will still help either way.  If you’re reading, I bet you haven’t decided that yet and have a little more energy to keep fighting.  Good for you.  Thank goodness for them.  I’m not an expert.  I’m just a guy who writes a blog and spends an inordinate amount of time creating speeches. But I know what helped me the most.
Get a therapist.  I’m assuming you’ve already tried to get them to go to a therapist.  What I’m saying is: You should go to a therapist.
Yes, that sounds ridiculous.  I’m not saying you need a therapist for your own mental health.  What I’m saying is: you need a therapist to help you figure out how to help “your person”.  Who better to consult you on how to help them than an expert on mental health?  They’ve seen it all.  They know the mindset.  They’ve engaged reluctant people.  Therapists take time.  Therapists take money. Therapists take energy.  The right one is worth your life thousand times over.  If you don’t connect with the first one, try another.  Like any profession with complex skills, you’re not guaranteed a perfect match on the first try.  I threw many darts against the wall to heal my depression, but none was as permanently impactful as learning from an expert.

Person 3 of 5: You Don’t Know Anyone That Needs Help

You will.  Don’t wait until that time happens.  Between 1 in 10 to 1 in 2 people will have depression in their lifetime.  Whether it’s 1 in 10 or 1 in 2 doesn’t matter.  You will have ten people in your life that you care about.  Create the right environment for them NOW.  It’s hard to change your opinion when you’re depressed.  It’s harder to change your beliefs.  Most people have strong beliefs about mental health by adulthood.  Very often, it’s binary.  They’re willing to get help if they believe depression is a relatively normal issue.  They’re completely unwilling to consider that they may have an issue if they believe depression is completely abnormal.
Your job is to create the environment in which depression seems more normal.  It is.  We all have physical issues throughout our lifetime.  No one denies that.  Your brain isn’t that much different from your body.  Yes, the brain is special.  It may be the greatest invention in the universe.  It makes us human.  But it’s not perfect.  It breaks down.  Likes your body.  Like a car.
Brains need mechanics.
Brains need doctors.
Brains need therapists.
You have the statistic above.  That’s enough on its own.  The hard part now is talking about it.  All you need to do is have one talk with one person to take that one step to change your environment. The hardest part is the first step.  Use this post.  Use the speech.  Use someone you know that was depressed.  Pick one person you care about and just talk about it.  It doesn’t have to be someone who’s at-risk.  Just talk about it, like it’s a normal thing.
The next time you hear about someone who’s depressed, use that as a trigger to talk about it again like it’s normal.  If the person you talk to is reluctant to talk about it like it’s a normal thing, you’ll know it’s even more important to share your perspective with them.  Keep at it.  Don’t stop.  If someone you talked to about depression ever has their own issue, you’ll be glad you did.  You might be the only person they’ll be able to talk about it with because they’ll know that to you “it’s normal”.

Person 4 of 5: You Know a Group That Needs Help

You have a tough job.  This is a difficult topic to raise with most groups.  It’s scary.  It requires vulnerability.  It takes courage.  Please consider your options for getting help for your group.  I’m just one option.
Please contact me if you’d like a live version of this speech.  I’m not an expert, but I’m motivated to get the message out that depression is more normal than most people think it is.  I have variations of this talk from 15-60 minutes long and can adapt the format, length, and intensity based on what will help your audience the most.  I believe many groups would benefit from a more interactive discussion on the topic and I can also lead and facilitate that.

Person 5 of 5: Resources if You Need Help NOW

If you need professional help immediately, call the numbers at the links below.
I’m not an expert.  I recommend you find a professional.  If for some reason you feel comfortable reaching out to me and not a professional because you know me or what you’ve read or seen from me, my contact information is available.  If you need someone to talk to, call.  If you don’t know me, I’m an okay guy.  I’m a pretty good listener.  And you can always hang up the phone.

Statistics and References

  • As many as 1 in 2 people have depression in their lifetime (Andrews, Poulton, Skoog, 2005).
  • Over 50% will not seek or receive proper treatment (González, Williams, Tarraf, West, and Neighbors via NIH, 2010).
  • 1 in 4 people suffers in silence.  This is my own math based on the statistics above of the number of people potentially with depression in their lifetime (1 in 2) multiplied by the number that seeks and receives proper treatment (>50%).  You might question the 1 in 2 number for lifetime depression risk.  That’s understandable.  We never hear that number reported that high.  Read the research link above for the potential flaws in the studies that report lowers numbers like 10%.  Whether it’s as high as 50% or as low as 10% of people having depression in their lifetime, there are or will be people you know and love suffering in silence.
  • Treatment is effective.  Most research I’ve seen states that between 70-80% of patients see significant improvement six to twelve weeks after treatment begins (WebMD + DBS Alliance).  I hope you draw the same conclusion I do.  The problem isn’t the effectiveness of treatment.  It’s getting people to recognize they need treatment so they take action and get help.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Create the right environment now.  Talk about depression openly with your friends, family, and the people most important to you.
Picture of Matt wearing a shirt with a letter D.
This is me wearing the ‘D’ shirt at a speech. Superman is one lucky dude.

Check out this page for more on depression.