National Alliance on Mental Illness
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December, 2006

Depression Is Real Campaign Launches

Diverse New Coalition Seeks to Counter Misconceptions About Depression

Frustrated and concerned by popular misconceptions that trivialize depression as “just the blues” or dismiss it entirely as an “imaginary disease,” seven prominent physician, patient and civic nonprofit organizations have joined together to launch a public education campaign to tell Americans the truth about depression.  

The Depression Is Real Coalition seeks to educate Americans that depression is a serious, debilitating disease that can be fatal if left untreated. The campaign hopes to encourage the nearly 19 million Americans who suffer from depression each year to seek treatment.

The Depression Is Real public education campaign is sponsored by NAMI, along with the American Psychiatric Foundation (a philanthropic and educational subsidiary of the American Psychiatric Association), the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Medical Association, the National Mental Health Association and the National Urban League and is made possible through the support of Wyeth.  

The Depression is Real Coalition believes that those in the popular culture who label depression a “myth” and deny that medical or other treatments are necessary for recovery do real harm to depression sufferers.

Indisputable scientific evidence shows depression to be a biologically-based disease that destroys the connections between brain cells and can affect every aspect of a person’s health. Science and medical research have also proven that people can and do recover from depression through appropriate treatment.  

The Depression Is Real campaign consists of television, radio and print public service announcements (PSAs), print and radio advertisements, a Web site (
), and other educational activities.  

Some of the print and radio ads are science-based and feature Dr. Paul Greengard, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine and an expert in brain function and the mechanisms of depression.  

Print ads have run in public policy publications and in key national dailies including USA Today and The New York Times, as well as in Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines.  

The PSAs, produced in English and Spanish, are being distributed nationwide.  The PSA’s are available by emailing

The Coalition hopes that its public education campaign will help alleviate stigma by increasing awareness of depression, its causes and the wide range of available treatments.    

For more information about depression and the coalition members, and to see elements of the Depression Is Real public education campaign, visit