5 TED Talks About Mental Health

Five TED Talks on Mental Health Everyone Should Watch

  • Depression, the Secret We Share by Andrew Solomon
  • Mental Health for All by Involving All by Vikram Patel
  • The Voices in My Head by Eleanor Longden
  • There’s No Shame in Taking Care of Your Mental Health by Sangu Delle
  • Don’t Suffer From Your Depression in Silence by Nikki Webber Allen

Mental health plays a large role in society today. From misdiagnoses to underrepresented communities fighting stigma, this is a core issue that can derail an individual from leading a productive life. In fact, the BBC has reported that mental health plans are on track to fail current and future generations because not enough is done to discuss mental health in an open and nonjudgmental way. TED, however, is an organization that is dedicated to shining light on all forms of mental health; here are the top five talks everyone should watch on this subject.

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Depression, the Secret We Share by Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon is a writer and National Book Award novelist who is a strong proponent of LGBT and mental health issues. He is also a researcher who has done incredible work in the space of depression and its impact on impoverished neighborhoods, which is the subject of this particular TED talk. In it, Solomon discusses many of his findings, including the idea that mental illnesses, including depression, often go undiagnosed and untreated in at-risk communities because people in those communities believe depression stems from circumstance and not a medical condition. Solomon caps off his riveting talk by proposing that individuals take hold of their mental illness and embrace it. Only by accepting a diagnosis, Solomon concludes, can an individual take control of their circumstances and live more productive lives.

Mental Health for All by Involving All by Vikram Patel

Vikram Patel is an Indian psychiatrist and researcher that focuses his work on developing countries and communities. His powerful TED talk focuses on the idea that these communities don’t have enough resources and professionals to treat the mental illnesses that may be present. The solution, Patel states, is to have professionals train members of the local community in methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy so that they can dispense the solution to their own members. He makes the point that while those in the West are often given ample chances to receive treatment, there are people around the world that are not so lucky. The best way to move forward, according to Patel, is to empower local communities to treat their own.

The Voices in My Head by Eleanor Longden

Eleanor Longden is not just a psychology graduate who’s working towards a Ph.D. in the field; she is also a strong woman who is a diagnosed schizophrenic. Her work focuses on schizophrenia and how symptoms of the mental illness, particularly hearing voices, can actually be a coping mechanism to save one from reliving difficult memories. Longden’s TED talk is a brilliant discussion in how learning about her mental illness and finding ways to be productive regardless of her diagnosis has made her stronger; it has also given her a voice in a community in which it is uncommon for mental illness patients to find themselves in the position to be experts in the field.

There’s No Shame in Taking Care of Your Mental Health by Sangu Delle

Sangu Delle, a TED Fellow, has an incredible talk that should be watched by everyone, but especially men. Focusing on the idea that men should not show emotion or talk openly about their mental health issues, Delle drew inspiration from his own battle with stress to shine a light on an open secret in America: that men are influenced by emotion but suffer in silence and secrecy. This is a talk that aims to demystify and depolarize the idea that men should not speak about their feelings.

Don’t Suffer From Your Depression in Silence by Nikki Webber Allen

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses in America; it is prevalent especially in communities of color. However, these communities see mental illness as a stigma and rarely discuss mental illness in an open and compassionate manner. Nikki Webber Allen, a two-time Emmy Award winner and 20-year veteran of producing entertainment content, speaks openly about her own struggles with anxiety and depression, making it a point to showcase that as a woman of color, she understands the deep stigma tied to mental illness in her community. This TED talk should be required viewing for not both professionals and communities of color.

TED talks are an important resource for those who are interested in learning about different cultures and issues. It is best utilized, however, when the talks take on a perspective that may not be shared by the people who engage in the content. Mental health is an issue that affects everyone and to that end, these five TED talks on the issue should be watched by people interested in the topic.