Programs examine facets of depression

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CONWAY -- The Arkansas Educational Television Network will present a special evening of programming addressing depression on Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m.

Each year, more than 21 million Americans are diagnosed with clinical depression, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood conditions -- often not even seen as a medical illness, but as something imagined or self-inflicted. Depression strikes one in four women and one of every eight men at some point in their lifetimes.

Beginning at 7 p.m. will be "The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression," the latest documentary from filmmaker and best-selling author, Susan Polis-Schutz. The film is a national portrait of one of America's least understood mental illnesses told through firsthand accounts from victims of depression and their families.

Polis-Schutz reveals the accounts of people who suffer the lowest depths of depression in this film, which took her three years to complete.

Through the victims' stories, the film explores how depression can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic background. One by one the victims' tales are unraveled: symptoms; suicide; the stigma and lack of understanding; the stress in families and relationships; the loss of ability to work or function in school. The director takes a hard look at the pros and cons of medication, different forms of therapy, and support groups.

Following the 60-minute film will be "House Calls -- Depression," an AETN production with host T. Glenn Pait, M.D., director, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, and host of the UAMS series "Here's to Your Health." Guests include Laurence Miller, M.D., medical director, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services, and Kim Arnold, executive director, National Alliance for Mental Illness Arkansas. The panel will discuss symptoms, treatment, medication and its side effects, suicide and local and national resources.

Additionally, AETN has developed a website,, with resources, videos and answers to common questions about depression.

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