The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
A new hour-long television special called “Life Continued: Defeating Depression,” which tells the stories of two young people fighting their way through severe mental health struggles, will debut on MTV tonight.
The new documentary, produced by Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake for World Mental Health Day, airs on October 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. “Life Continued: Defeating Depression” goes inside the lives of two young people from different parts of the country who found hope and a path to recovery from clinical depression and thoughts of suicide. The special responds to the fact that suicide has become the third-leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, and aims to empower viewers facing emotional struggles to get help or to support friends in need.
“SoulPancake started as a Baha’i-inspired effort to give people the space to ask life’s big questions,”
“And now, along with MTV and the Jed Foundation, we’re asking – and showing – how people can find their way out of the darkness of depression. It’s World Mental Health Day! Let’s all find the courage and inspiration to heal, and help others heal, too.”
Depression affects about 19 million people in the United States every year. Young people are especially at risk, with half of college students reporting they have felt so depressed that they couldn’t function. The Baha’i teachings urge everyone who suffers from illness, whether physical or mental, to seek the guidance and support of competent physicians – and clinical depression can be life-threatening, so the MTV/SoulPancake special profiles people who have received the benefit of professional help and gotten better as a result.
“Life Continued: Defeating Depression” documents the powerful stories of Devin from Indiana, and Sarah Virginia from North Carolina: Devin’s friends describe him as upbeat and outgoing, but this 21-year-old, biracial Indiana State University track star has faced a number of challenges in his life. From a young age, Devin struggled with depression and felt like he didn’t belong in his own community due to racism and homophobia. Teased endlessly for being gay, he kept his sexual orientation hidden. During this time, he struggled with intense feelings of loneliness and worthlessness, and found himself in an incredibly dark place. He began to see signs of hope again once he realized he was not alone, and that there were other people going through the same thing. He sought out help from a medical professional, and recently began sharing his story with the people who matter most in his life – including his mother.
Sarah Virginia, a 20-year-old Salem College student, studies political science and communications. Her struggles with depression, anorexia, and self-harm began at the age of 12. At the age of 17, she hit her lowest point and attempted to take her own life. After receiving medical help and counseling, she realized she had a second chance and wanted to make the best of it. To stay healthy she relies on an extensive network of love and support, including her family, classmates, and her long-distance boyfriend Neil. She also has begun to share her story through her writing and music.
MTV and SoulPancake have partnered with The Jed Foundation to help viewers who relate to the stories in the special take action to help themselves or someone they know. A custom resource center on the “Half of Us” campaign website (HalfofUs.com) will help viewers understand feelings like depression, anxiety and insecurity, and find ways to reach out for support or take action. A new campaign through the “Love is Louder” movement will empower young people to share positive messages of hope and express that their “#lifecontinued because @LoveisLouder than the pain.”
SoulPancake, Rainn Wilson’s media and production company, creates content to explore the human experience. With an Emmy® Award-winning television division and a digital platform and Webby® Award-winning premium YouTube channel, SoulPancake’s content emphasizes the spiritual aspects of life, with joyful, thought-provoking, quirky, cinematic content full of heartfelt emotion. Find SoulPancake online: soulpancake.com and on Twitter: @soulpancake.