Hope for Depression Blog

Guest Bloggers

  • Louisa Benton

    Executive Director

  • Steven P. Roose, M.D

    Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

  • Huda Akil, Ph.D

    DTF Chair

Score two tickets to Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway!, Friday 7 July 2017

How can you score two tickets to Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway?!

Join us for the WALK OF HOPE to Defeat Depression Saturday, August 5 in Southampton, NY. You can choose to Walk or Run the three mile course. Register today and you will have a chance to win two prime orchestra seats to the 11 Tony Award-Winning phenomenon!!

But step lively! You must register early to be eligible to win. We’ll pick the winner from a random drawing of all WALK/RUN participants who register before July 14. We’ll announce the lucky winner right before setting out on the three-mile loop around beautiful Lake Agawam in Southampton.*

So click here to register today. Registration is just $50 and includes a commemorative hat and t-shirt.

Walk with us to win tickets to Hamilton AND to raise awareness and funds for the most innovative depression research today!

Walk with us because:

  • Depression affects 20 million adults in the US each year
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • The causes of depression are still unknown
  • 50% of people do not respond to existing medications

Walk with us because HDRF is working to change that. As the leading non-profit organization focused solely on depression research, we are at the forefront of finding answers and defeating depression.

100% of all proceeds go directly to research!

We look forward to walking with you on August 5!


If you have any questions or need help signing in or registering for the walk/run, please email us at events@hopefordepression.org or call us at 212.676.3205.

Chairman’s Council Event Update, Wednesday 26 April 2017

Third Annual Palm Beach Chairman’s Council Dinner

Our third annual Chairman’s Council Dinner on Friday, March 10, 2017 in Palm Beach was festive and engaging. HDRF Founder & Chair Audrey Gruss hosts the dinner every year to honor top donors who have helped the Foundation grow into a national leader in advanced depression research. This year’s dinner was on the terrace of Findlay Galleries, overlooking the elegant shops of Worth Avenue.

The table was decorated with festive forsythia and tulips in our signature yellow color.

Our thanks to James R. Borynack, Chairman and CEO of Findlay Galleries, and Adolfo Zaralegui, Vice President of Findlay Galleries for co-hosting and underwriting the event. Our thanks also to Chairman’s Council Co-Chairs William Flaherty, Susan Lloyd and Scott Snyder for their support and leadership.


Adolfo Zaralegui, Audrey Gruss and James Borynack


Scott Snyder, Susan Lloyd and Bill Flaherty

The evening’s program included renowned psychologist and neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, who gave a fascinating and thought-provoking talk on “How to Become a ‘Superager.’” After dinner, guests received a signed copy of her new book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, which was released on March 7th  by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Audrey Gruss, Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett and Dr. Huda Akil


Jane Bunn, Martin Gruss, Barbara Smith, and Dr. Huda Akil


Janet Cafaro and Myrna Haft


Jane and George Bunn


Mary and Marvin Davidson


Denis and Annabelle Coleman


Lis Waterman, Jane Bunn and Mary Davidson


George Bunn, Louisa Benton and Dr. Huda Akil


Shannon Donnelly and Bill Flaherty


Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett signs her books

10th-annual-hope-luncheon-seminar, Friday 6 January 2017

Tenth Annual HOPE Luncheon Seminar The Search for New Depression Medications Tuesday, November 15, 2016 The Plaza Hotel New York City

Chuck Scarborough, Audrey Gruss, Anderson Cooper== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Chuck Scarborough, 2016 HOPE Award for Depression Advocacy Recipient, Anderson Cooper and HDRF Founder & Chair Audrey Gruss

Anderson Cooper, Audrey Gruss and Shane Boylan

Anderson Cooper, Shane Boylan and Audrey Gruss

Andrea Greeven Douzet, Laura Nicklas== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Andrea Greeven Douzet and Laura Nicklas

Ann Barish, Jane Marray, Pattie Lynch

Ann Barish, Jane Marray and Pattie Lynch


Eleanor Kennedy and Yaz Hernandez


Jamee and Peter Gregory

Stephanie Krieger, Elizabeth Thompson, Margo Langenberg, Roberta Sandeman== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Stephanie Krieger, Elizabeth Thompson, Margo Langenberg and Roberta Sandeman

Jonathan Javitch, Louisa Benton, Helen Mayberg, Rene Hen== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Victor Hugo/PMC== ==

Dr. Jonathan Javitch, HDRF Executive Director Louisa Benton, Dr. Helen Mayberg, and Dr. Rene Hen

Susan Gutfreund, Audrey Gruss, Princess Katherine== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Susan Gutfreund, Audrey Gruss and HRH Princess Katherine of Serbia

Dr. Helen Mayberg, Dr. John Krystal== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Dr. Helen Mayberg and Dr. John Krystal

Arthur Dunnam, Richard Ziegelasch== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Arthur Dunnam and Richard Ziegelasch

Ritchey Howe, Carol Mack, Caroline Dean, Danielle Ganek== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Ritchey Howe, Carol Mack, Caroline Dean and Danielle Gane

Janna Bullock, Zoe Bullock, Nicole Miller== Hope for Depression Research Foundation 10th Annual Hope Luncheon Seminar== The Plaza Hotel, NYC== November 15, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Jared Siskin/PMC== == ==

Janna Bullock, Zoe Bullock and Nicole Miller

HDRF’s Satellite Media Tour, Tuesday 20 December 2016
HDRF founding chair Audrey Gruss conducted a satellite media tour this fall, speaking with dozens of TV stations across the country to bring HDRF’s message to over 15 million viewers.
Latest Post on Psychology Today Blog, Monday 15 February 2016

Depression in Children

Guest blogger David Brent, M.D., reveals what we know and what we don’t know. How common is depression in children? Depression occurs in 1-2% of children before puberty.You can even see depression in preschoolers, although it’s much less common. That usually occurs when there’s a strong family history of depression. After puberty the rate of depression increases significantly to about 3-8%, with a higher rate in girls than boys.  One in five teens will have experienced a depressive disorder by the time they reach adulthood. What does depression look like in children? The depressive symptoms of not having fun, difficulty concentrating, guilt, problems with sleep and appetite are similar in children and in adolescents. In pre-pubertal children, depression often emerges in families with high adversity, and these children frequently have other problems, particularly conduct disorder. When you follow depressed children through life, they have continued problems with criminality, substance abuse, and suicide. Depression in adolescence has a course more similar to adulthood, and in fact, depressed adolescents are very likely to have another episode sometime in their adult life.  Depressed adolescents often engage in a range of risky behaviors, including alcohol and drug abuse, non-suicidal self-harm, suicidal behavior, and having unprotected sex. In examining the brain functioning of depressed children and adolescents, researchers have found that, compared to healthy youth, they show less effective cognitive control of their emotions, greater emotional reactivity in response to emotional stimuli (like scary faces), and a diminished response to rewarding situations. What are the biggest risk factors for developing depression? Family history of depression is the biggest risk factor. We know that if you have a parent who is depressed, you’re about four times more likely to develop depression. Studies of twins who are separated at birth show that 50% of depression is genetic and 50% is related toenvironment. Additionally, a parent who had early onset depression is more likely to have children with depression. Risk factors in children include: ·       Low birth weight ·       Child abuse ·       Extreme adversity ·       Death of parent at an early age ·       Family history of depressive illness ·       Insomnia ·       Difficulty with emotion regulation ·       Cognitive distortion (viewing the glass as half empty as opposed to half full) ·       Same sex attraction ·       Abuse of cannabis and alcohol Risk is reduced when a positive relationship between parent and child is present.  For example, studies have shown that having dinner with your family every day protects kids against a wide variety of health risk behaviors. What is the risk of suicide in children with depression? Children and adolescents with depression are about 8-20 times more likely to complete suicide than youth without depression. Most often it is not depression alone, but depression in combination with other conditions, including alcohol and substance abuse, or impulsive aggression. A study found the single symptom that most strongly differentiated kids who completed suicide from other depressed kids was they were much more likely to experience insomnia in the week before suicide. Family environment plays a significant role.  Children in families rife with conflict are at an increased risk for suicide. Additionally, children who are disconnected, without bonds to family, friends, and/or institutions are more susceptible to suicide. Finally, the availability of a gun is a risk factor. If you look at suicide in adolescents under the age of 16, only 60% have a clear psychiatric disorder.  In the remaining 40%, the only differentiating factor from normal kids is that there was a loaded gun in the home of the youth who died by suicide. What is the expectable course of depression in children and adolescents and how can we treat it? If untreated, the average depressive episode will last four to eight months. If you have an incomplete recovery you’re more at risk for developing chronic depression, which is then more difficult to treat.  Depression generally recurs within a five year window. If you look at adolescents that are depressed, almost all of them have episodes into adulthood. Current best practice involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. There are many common misconceptions regarding the use of antidepressants for children, especially given the FDA black box warning for adolescent use of anti-depressants. If we look at the risk of suicidal events– and that includes an increase in ideation– in all the clinical trials of over 4,000 kids, there were no completed suicides and the increased risk for a suicidal event only 0.9% over youth given placebo. There are eleven times more kids that benefit from treatment with an antidepressant than are going to experience a suicidal event. In fact, population studies show that there is an inverse relationship between sales of SSRIs and suicide. Psychotherapy is very important in treating children with depression. The two most commonly used forms of psychotherapy are: 1) cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps to identify and problem solve around behaviors, and 2) interpersonal therapy, which looks at the child in the context of their social relationships. CBT is preferable for children who are facing a number of behavioral problems as well as depression, however it is not as effective if they have a parent with depression or a history of child abuse. In this case, it is essential to address the parental depression in conjunction with the child’s treatment. Interpersonal therapy commonly helps children with a lot of parent discord or other interpersonal problems. It is important to continue the treatment even after the child is well or you run the risk of relapse.  A type of family treatment, termed “attachment-based family therapy” also appears to be a promising treatment for depressed adolescents.  Once children and adolescents recover from depression, it is important to provide continued treatment for 6-12 months in order to prevent a recurrence of the depression. What can we do to prevent it? Interventions that try to augment family resilience, improve parent and child communication and parental monitoring and supervision are effective, and for adolescents, adaptations of cognitive behavior and interpersonal therapies have been shown to prevent depression. . What are some of the things we can do to improve on the treatment of depression right now? Early detection and treatment are key, since the longer depression lasts untreated, the harder it is to treat. The simplest way to do this is to emphasize what is known as collaborative care, which imbeds therapists in primary care practices to reduce the problem of stigma and provide easier access for mental health care. Studies have shown that this is much more effective than usual care. Parents should also actively track symptoms in their children and discuss with their child’s treating clinician. We need to invest in research for new treatments for children that have experienced a lot of adversity, as they represent a large portion of the clinical population for which we do not yet have effective treatments. The need for continued research My colleague Lisa Pan and I run a clinic for depressed and suicidal kids with treatment resistant depression. We had one child with a chronic history, who had not responded to medication or ECT. Lisa Pan sent him to a geneticist, who did a spinal tap, which revealed that he had a low level of biopterin, a molecule that is needed to make every neuro-transmitter. The geneticist therefore recommended giving him Kuvan, a precursor of biopterin. The child recovered. We thought to ourselves, how many people are out there with this? She got a grant and started a study with adults and out of around 40 people she’s studied so far, she’s found various metabolic abnormalities in more than half of them. We could not have predicted this, and this serendipitous discovery shows us the need for continuing our research. Not much is known about what causes depression, and organizations like HDRF are dedicated to finding the root causes of depression, which will lead to new and more effective treatments. About David Brent, M.D.: David Brent is the Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. He was recently a featured speaker at Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s 9th Annual Luncheon Seminar. Dr. Brent is Co-founder and Director at Services for Teens at Risk (STAR), a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-funded program. Dr. Brent’s work has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, and he currently directs an NIMH-funded Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research for Early-Onset Mood and Anxiety Disorders devoted to improving the life course of youth with mood and anxiety disorders, and consequently at high risk for suicide Dr. Brent received his undergraduate education at Pennsylvania State University and graduated from Jefferson Medical College of the Thomas Jefferson University.  Dr. Brent trained in pediatrics at the University of Colorado, in general and child psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and completed a master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.