11 Great Ted Talks About Depression

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences have been presenting “Ideas Worth Spreading” since the 1980s, but the online video revolution has boosted their cultural impact enormously. Here are eleven Ted Talks dealing with depression, happiness, mental health and related issues.

David Burns | Feeling good

The author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy asks, Why do we sometimes fall into black holes of depression, anxiety and self-doubt? And can we change the way we feel?

Andrew Solomon | Depression, the secret we share

In a talk equal parts eloquent and devastating, writer Andrew Solomon takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression. That led him to an eye-opening journey across the world to interview others with depression — only to discover that, to his surprise, the more he talked, the more people wanted to tell their own stories.

Kevin Breel | Confessions of a depressed comic

Kevin Breel didn’t look like a depressed kid: team captain, at every party, funny and confident. But he tells the story of the night he realized that — to save his own life — he needed to say four simple words.

Kevin Briggs | The bridge between suicide and life

For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.

Ruby Wax | What’s so funny about mental illness?

Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax — except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humor, Wax, diagnosed a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness.

Stephen Ilardi | Depression is a disease of civilization

Psychology professor at University of Kansas draws on research and clinical practice to examine the depression epidemic in modern society.

Zindel Segal | The mindful way through depression

The co-author of The Mindful Way Through Depression and co-developer of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy talks about meditation and depression.

Dan Gilbert | The surprising science of happiness

The author of Stumbling on Happiness challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

Matthieu Ricard | The habits of happiness

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Buddhist monk, photographer and author Matthieu Ricard has devoted his life to these questions, and his answer is influenced by his faith as well as by his scientific turn of mind: We can train our minds in habits of happiness. Interwoven with his talk are stunning photographs of the Himalayas and of his spiritual community.

Laurel Braitman | Depressed dogs, cats with OCD — what animal madness means for us humans

Laurel Braitman studies non-human animals who exhibit signs of mental health issues — from compulsive bears to self-destructive rats to monkeys with unlikely friends. Braitman asks what we as humans can learn from watching animals cope with depression, sadness and other all-too-human problems.

Nick Vujicic | Overcoming hopelessness

Nick Vujicic was born with a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. Most of his childhood he struggled with depression, and after a suicide attempt he decided to concentrate on what he did have instead on what he didn’t. He realized that his life story inspires many people.

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