I want to bring attention to the recent “Strong Voices” speaking out courageously and candidly about depression and suicide. At the 2015 Academy Awards evening, Graham Moore, winner for Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game” spoke of his suicide attempt as a teen. I happened to be watching at the time and was profoundly struck by his comments while accepting his Oscar.

Subsequently I have read about his work, his life journey and his motivation. In just 45 seconds he grabbed an opportunity of a lifetime to shine a light on his depression and his experience, something he had never done before. This week, Zelda Williams has stepped into the public arena with interviews about her father and her experience with his suicide. I have watched and read again. Her emotional tenderness is palpable, but clear and candid about depression and suicide.

Depression and other mental health issues are real and should carry no stigma nor shame. Silence about mental illness disempowers people and families. We are not silent about other chronic health issues. Quite to the contrary there are “branded” slogans and colors associated with illnesses.

For over 30 years I have made it my mission to help educate about depression, with the goal of preventing the tragedy of suicide. Early identification, intervention and referral are part of the process. Speaking out boldly allows us to understand and take steps to reach out and connect. We are fortunate today to have more science and research that directs us. What we must do is continue strengthening the conversation and bringing it to light with hope and optimism. Together we can make a difference.

The presentation “Typical or Troubled” has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 14th. We will announce more about it in the YHC newsletter.