Ep. 75: Kristi Hugstad — How to Open the Conversation About Depression and Suicide

My guest this week is Kristi Hugstad, author of a book called Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis. Kristi was moved to write this book as part of her efforts to address the stigma of mental illness, especially among young people, after her husband died by suicide.

In this episode we talked about the rising rates of depression among teens and some of the possible causes, including the role of technology and social media. We also addressed how to recognize the signs of a depression crisis in a loved one. Other topics we touched on included:

  • The importance of normalizing and destigmatizing mental illness for young people
  • Warning signs of a mental health crisis, especially depression
  • The difficult position for family members when a loved one isn’t willing to seek mental health treatment
  • Why rates of depression and suicide are rising among younger people, especially girls
  • The role of technology in depression
  • Preliminary results of the “society-wide technological experiment” we’re a part of
  • Why it’s so hard to talk about suicide
  • Kristi’s own struggles with depression after her husband’s death
  • The difficulty at times in recognizing that we’re depressed
  • Activities that can help us heal from depression
  • Why depression is a “thief and a liar”
  • Learning to recognize signs of stress in our minds and bodies
  • Giving ourselves permission at times to do the minimum
  • The freedom in realizing we can say no to demands on our time
  • Ways to manage our technology addiction
  • When to allow kids to have cell phones or smart phones
  • Reactions to Kristi’s book
  • The challenge in starting conversations about mental health, and the guidance Kristi provides in her book
  • How to talk with a loved one about suicide
  • Harmful myths about suicide

If you or someone you care about—of any age—struggles with a mental health condition, I think you’ll find that this conversation is really useful.

You can get Kristi’s book here (affiliate link): Beneath the Surface

Kristi Hugstad has dedicated her life to helping abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide.

A certified grief recovery specialist and a grief and loss facilitator for recovering addicts at South Coast Behavioral Health, Kristi frequently speaks at high schools.

Kristi is also the host of The Grief Girl podcast and lives in Orange County, California. Visit her website and find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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