What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Life Continued: Defeating Depression is an intense, firsthand documentary about two twentysomethings' struggles with depression, self-harm, and attempted suicide. Theirs are very emotional journeys not for the faint of heart or for anyone too immature to grasp the context of their stories and the concept of mental illness in general. One subject discusses at length her attempted overdose after years of anorexia and anxiety; the other talks about hiding his homosexuality out of fear of people's reactions and the progressive emotional turmoil that nearly led him to end his life. That said, the movie's message is one of hope, and both subjects share details of their ongoing recovery including the importance of having a strong support system, the value of positive self-esteem, and reminders that, no matter the cause of mental illness, there's always hope to be found in opening up to someone and getting help. Viewers are encouraged to visit an awareness website for more information about battling depression, and the show flashes a hotline phone number for immediate access to help for anyone who's suffering from the disease.
What's the story?
In LIFE CONTINUED: DEFEATING DEPRESSION, two college students open up about their longtime battles with mental illness and suicidal tendencies. There's Devin, a college senior and competitive athlete who's harbored the secret of his homosexuality for years out of fear of people's reactions. Eventually the pressures led him to consider suicide to end the hopelessness he felt. Meanwhile Sarah struggled with self-esteem issues that led to anorexia and anxiety, which culminated in a nearly successful attempted overdose. Both are on paths to recovery, thanks to professional intervention and strong support systems, and they share their stories in the hopes that other victims will seek the help they need to overcome the illness as well.
Is it any good?
It is estimated that about half of all college students have experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental illness at some point, and this is the obvious target demographic for Life Continued: Defeating Depression. But even though it deals with some very heavy issues, its message is essential for younger teens, too, provided they understand the gravity of what's being discussed. The best way to ensure that they get the right message is to watch the documentary with them and talk about it when it's done. Not only will you be able to reinforce what your teens are seeing, but you'll also get some insight into possible indicators of mental illness from the subjects' accounts.
Depression is a tough issue, and it's one that often gets pushed down the mental checklist as parents get caught up in seemingly more pressing concerns for their teens' safety. But Sarah and Devin's stories prove that it can be a silent killer or, at the very least, a devastating force in teens' lives. The best weapon against its power is awareness -– for both teens and their parents -– and Life Continued is an excellent tool in that arsenal.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how mental illness is perceived in society. Do conditions like depression, anxiety, and anorexia get the same level of respect in popular opinion as do ones like cancer and heart disease? Is there a stigma attached to them? Why? What can be done to combat this stereotype?
A recurring theme in this movie is the importance of having a strong support system. Why is this essential for happiness in general? Teens: Do you ever feel like you have to look or act a certain way among your friends? What level of pressure does this put on you?
This movie touches on a number of issues that you can discuss with your teens including self-image and prejudice. Where do we get messages (either positive or negative) about body image and appearance? Are they always attainable? How does it affect us when we can't achieve them? What are the dangers of making snap judgments about a person by his appearance?