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AETN makes depression resources available statewide

Posted 14 Jun 2010

Each year, more than 21 million Americans are diagnosed with clinical depression, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood conditions – often not even seen as a medical illness, but as something imagined or self-inflicted. Depression strikes one in four women and one of every eight men at some point in their lifetimes.

AETN has distributed DVD copies of “The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression” to libraries statewide and is also making them available to schools and colleges. The latest documentary from filmmaker and best-selling author Susan Polis-Schutz, it is a portrait of one of America’s least understood mental illnesses told by victims of depression and their families.

Polis-Schutz reveals the accounts of people who suffer the lowest depths of depression in this film. One by one the victims’ tales unravel: symptoms; suicide; stigma and lack of understanding; stress in families and relationships; loss of ability to function. The director takes a hard look at the pros and cons of medication, therapy, and support groups. The film is produced by IronZeal Films, presented by KPBS and distributed by American Public Television (APT).

In response to a screening of “The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression” at the Faulkner County Library, a Depression and Bipolar support group has been formed for the benefit of people in the Faulkner County area who are dealing with mood disorders.

“The Conway/Faulkner County community is in need of a readily-available contact point for those individuals seeking help in managing these conditions which affect their lives so drastically,” support group facilitator Dr. Joe Walthall of Greenbrier said. “The diversity of our community would lead one to believe that there are many, many persons out there who could benefit from such a support group.”

The meetings will be held at the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler in Conway, beginning Wednesday, June 23, at 7 p.m. This local group is affiliated with the national office of the DBSA, which has a grassroots network of approximately 1,000 peer-run support groups across the United States and Canada.

“A support group like this is an important part of any treatment plan,” Jerry Quick, state director for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Arkansas, said. “It is not a substitute for professional help or appropriate medication, but supplements those recovery tools.

“Our groups provide a secure and safe environment for patients and loved one to share and gain coping skills.”

For more information, call Walthall at (501) 472-0500 or Quick at 1-800-724-1936. For other DBSA support groups visit

In conjunction with “The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression”, AETN produced “House Calls – Depression” with host T. Glenn Pait, M.D., director, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, and host of the UAMS series “Here’s to Your Health.” Guests include Laurence Miller, M.D., medical director, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services, and Kim Arnold, executive director, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Arkansas. The panel discusses symptoms, treatment, medication and its side effects, suicide and local and national resources. This 30-minute program will be rebroadcast on AETN Sunday, June 13, at 3 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 15, at noon.

Additionally, AETN has developed a website,, with resources, videos and answers to common questions about depression.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas’s statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit, or follow the AETN blog at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).