Depression: Crisis Within A Crisis


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a crisis within a crisis … a mental health emergency. Compared to a 2018 survey, adults in the U.S. are now eight times more likely to feel serious mental distress. Researchers are taking a hard look at what works and what doesn’t when it comes to helping those suffering from depression and anxiety.

Your health, your job, your spouse, your kids … On a normal day any and all of these can stress you out!

Add on a global pandemic, the pressure is sending more than one-third of Americans into a state of clinical depression and overwhelming anxiety.

“For me it was having no energy, no motivation, always just trapped inside my head,” shared Robert Mason, founder and CEO of Letters Against Depression.

(Read Full Interview)

But what do you do if medication doesn’t work? New research shows only 40 percent of patients respond to the first antidepressant they try. Scientists from McGill University have found a protein in the blood and the brain called GPR56 dramatically changes in people who respond to antidepressants. By using a simple blood test, doctors can quickly find out if antidepressants would be useful.

Meanwhile, Stanford researchers are testing a new version of magnetic brain stimulation, an FDA approved treatment that sends magnetic pulses to the brain. It’s called SAINT or Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy. It increases the number of magnetic pulses, speeds up the pace and targets the pulses to each individual. A study found 90 percent of participants felt rapid relief from severe depression symptoms.

“Because if you keep that hope in you and you make it through, you’ll see that a lot of what your brain is telling you is a lie,” Mason added.

Artificial intelligence may also soon play a critical role in choosing which depression therapy is best for patients.  Researchers at UT Southwestern have developed a computer that can accurately predict whether an antidepressant will work based on a patient’s brain activity.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Marsha Lewis, Field Producer; Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: Depression, clinical depression, depressive disorder- many names, but the symptoms remain the same: feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. These symptoms cause emotional and physical problems, are intrusive, and effect your day-to-day abilities and circumstances. Although depression can appear only once in a patient’s life, extended over a certain period of time, many patients suffer from chronic or recurring depression. This disorder can affect kids and teens as well as adults and seniors. Warning signs may include, disruption of sleep, emotional outbursts, anxiety or agitation, trouble thinking, morbid thoughts, or unexplained physical problems. The lifetime suicide rate of people with major depression is 15% and can also be lethal in other ways like increased rate of heart disease.


CURRENT TREATMENTS: Since the late 1980s doctors have been prescribing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also called SSRIs, and they are the among the most prescribed medications. However, these prescriptions ae not without their side effects. Most commonly, depression patients that take SSRIs report insomnia, headaches, pain, decreased libido and sexual performance, and a more potential serious problem of diminished blood clotting; however, the risk that SSRIs will incite or illicit violent or self-destructive actions are at the center of the antidepressant controversary. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration initiated a Black Box Warning on SSRIs, its strongest available measure short of withdrawing a drug from the market.


NEW OPTIONS: Depressions is one of the most common clinical disorders and the most effective form of treatment remains cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy has an enduring effect that protects against subsequent relapse and recurrence following the end of active treatment, something that cannot be said for medications. Robert Manson, founder of Letters Against Depression, says that the simple act of reaching out, talking, and having someone there for you can actually save lives. To write or receive a letter to aide in depression treatment, visit the Letters Against website. Another form of treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation, also called TMS, that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression when medications have failed.






If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Robert Mason, founder and CEO of Letters Against Depression

Read the entire Q&A