He is bold, brazen and courageous! Screenwritter Graham Moore- age 34, shared his Oscar winning moment with millions of teens around the world as he bravely disclosed his attempted suicide when he was 16 years old. Moore made abundantly clear that his Hollywood moment in the limelight was not for him alone, but for the numerous teens suffering with depression.
“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird, and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here, and so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
Moore won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, a film about the ingenious British cryptanalyst, Alan Turing, and his role in deciphering the Enigma Code used by Germans during World War II to communicate strategic information. At age 41, Turing tragically took his own life. Moore who had never talked publically about his depression explained,
“[depression] was so much of what the movie was about, and it was one of the things that drew me to Alan Turing . . . I think we all feel like weirdos for different reasons. Alan had his share of them and I had my own, and that’s what always moved me so much about his story. Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces. And I do. And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard.” 1
Depression In Adolescence
Depression in teenagers is a significant national health problem with an estimated 5% of teens between 13 and 18 years of age whom are suffering with the illness. Despite the use of medications and psychotherapy, it is estimated that as many as 40% of depressed teens do not display adequate clinical improvement to initial treatment– defined as at least a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. Sadly, treatment-resistant patients incur higher suicide rates and decreased social and academic functioning. There are, however, alternative and additional treatments to medication and psychotherapy including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS). Please ask your physician about TMS Therapy and visit TMS NeuroHealth Center’s website for more information about TMS Therapy.2
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 teenagers in the United States seriously contemplates suicide annually, representing approximately 1 million teenagers of whom 1,700 die and nearly 300,000 receive medical attention for their attempt.3
Suicide Warning Signs*
Talking About Dying — any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self-harm
Recent Loss — through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
Change in Personality — sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
Change in Behavior — can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
Change in Sleep Patterns — insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
Change in Eating Habits — loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
Fear of losing control – acting erratically, harming self or others
Low Self Esteem — feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”
No Hope for the Future — believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change
*American Psychological Association4
Mental illness must become a part of our mainstream dialogue, cultural speak, academic cirriculum and public awareness. As a nation, we must stretch our capacity to support those with mental illness, welcoming diaglogue and embracing one another without judgement. Almost every individual knows a person who is suffering with depression. Even at the fear of your family member or friend becoming angry with you– speak up, seek help, share stories, learn, teach and support one another. It will make a difference, and it does take a village.
If you or someone you know may be having suicidal thoughts, PLEASE reach out now and call the helpline listed below. There are compassionate and understanding people who can help you.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Toll-Free 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s mission is to provide immediate assistance to individuals in suicidal crisis by connecting them to the nearest available suicide prevention and mental health service provider.5
If you have any thoughts regarding depression and suicide that you would feel comfortable sharing, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading and joining our conversation.
BMC Psychiatry. 2014 Nov 30;14(1):340;http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health/antidepressant-medications-for-children-and-adolescents-information-for-parents-and-caregivers.shtml