From dicey to deliberate
In 1995, even talking about depression in youngsters was a bit dicey, but twelve-year-old Claire Frese, whose depression had recently been stabilized with therapy and medication, began to recognize her symptoms in many of the kids she knew. She told her mom, ”There are so many kids like me, and no one is helping them. We have to do something.” That something evolved into the video Claire’s Story. In a self-narrated documentary, Claire told her story with refreshing honesty and humor. As an 8th grader who had experienced symptoms of depression since she was a very young child, Claire explained the symptoms of depression, how treatment helped her recover, and the important role of understanding friends and family in her recovery.
Lessons learned: Number One
When the Mental Health Association of Summit County began to use Claire’s Story in their suicide prevention classes in 1995 they learned several surprising, but very important lessons. First, the video was not showing kids anything they were not already acquainted with. Many of them had seen Claire’s symptoms in their friends or had experienced them personally. What they did not know was that these symptoms were related to a treatable brain disorder, and they had options beyond living in misery or, at worst, killing themselves.