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


In this section you can find out about experiences young adults ages 18 - 29 have with depression by seeing, hearing and reading personal stories they shared with us. Our researchers travelled to several regions and many different communities throughout the United States to talk to 38 young people in their own homes or community settings. Find out what people said about issues such as growing up in the shadow of depression, dealing with combinations of depression and anxiety, deciding whether and when to “go public” with their condition, and finding strategies for everyday life or how to maintain hope as they cope with depression.

The young people who shared their stories did so for varied reasons. Their voices and personal experiences differed. But they shared a belief that speaking up and telling their stories would matter – both to themselves and to others.

Young adults who told their stories for this website also wanted to be sure to remind visitors to the website like you that if at any time you need immediate crisis assistance, help is available. Please visit our resources for more information.

Dr. David Rakel of the University of Wisconsin, provides some background on these experiences and offers ideas for how to explore this content.


We hope you find the information here helpful, inspiring and reassuring. Throughout, we have included both positive and negative experiences. However, please note that the sub-topics under ‘First experiences with depression’ and ‘Living with depression’ include more about peoples’ struggles. The sub-topics under ‘Getting help’ and ‘Helping yourself’ and ‘Messages to others’ include more about how people cope with, live with, treat, and heal from depression. You can start viewing topics by clicking 'Next Topic' above; this will take you to the first of the topics summaries listed at left. Or, you can select a different starting point from the list. You can also view 'People's Profiles' from the tab above.

Funding for this work was provided by: This project was supported by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, the University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), grant UL1TR000427, the Center for Patient Partnerships, the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and the Health Innovation Program. 

Publication date: July 2016
Review date: July 2019


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Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

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