In the wake of suicides by Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we as a nation are newly sobered by depression’s threat to the public health. Depression is a common mood condition considered by the World Health Organization to be the leading cause of disability worldwide, ahead of widely publicized contenders such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Reading the news today, you will learn that depression leads to self-harm and suicidal thoughts, drug overdoses, school shootings and altercations with the police. Can this darkest of human frailties ever point the way to something better?
What do clinical scientists know about redemption and personal growth in the aftermath of depression? How often does it happen? What initiates it?
In a forthcoming article to appear in Perspectives on Psychological Science with our students, we reached a shocking conclusion: Experts have virtually nothing to say about this topic.