Young Adults’ Experiences of Depression in the U.S.


Age at interview: 18
Age at diagnosis: 16

Brief outline: Teddy, age 18, began experiencing depression in middle school. He was diagnosed by a psychiatrist. He tried medication but did not continue with it. His central sources of support include friends, his siblings, and a loving dog who makes him happy and who he takes care of every day. He plans to work with animals or making music.

Background: Teddy is a high school graduate who lives at home with his parents, siblings, and dog. His goal is either to focus on music or to become a vet technician and work with animals. He is African American and Latino.

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Teddy’s depression began in middle school. When things went wrong between him and a girl he had been seeing, it haunted him. The same thing happened with other relationships, and each time it got worse until he slipped unto a “deep, dark depression”, started skipping school, and had trouble getting out of bed. When his depression “kind of leaked out” on a school assignment, his teacher took him to the school psychologist to get help and then that same day he also told his mother and she took him to a therapist.

Advice from his therapists has been helpful to Teddy - particularly about how to stick up for himself and deal with difficult relationships. He tried medication at one point, but did not feel it worked so stopped taking it. A couple of teachers who have recognized Teddy’s musical talent and encouraged him have had a positive impact. 

Support from his friends and family has made the biggest difference of all, because depression is “an emotional thing… [so] other people is what can help the most.” One of Teddy’s brothers has been a particularly strong source of support. Teddy is also devoted to taking care of his dog, who has some health problems. Concern expressed by a friend and awareness of how much his dog needs him once combined to save Teddy when he was feeling suicidal.

Music, animals, and happy TV shows all help Teddy feel better. He graduated from high school, and aspires to make music for a living, or be a vet technician. He wants other young adults to know they should “try a lot of things” if they are depressed: “Try talking to your friends that you can trust with your life… and they’ll try to help you to the best of their abilities. If that doesn’t work out, try a therapist. He also urges people to “go back and fix it or make amends” if they have problems with relationships that contribute to depression and can be remedied.


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