House of Blues: Part two of a conversation with Andrew Solomon about depression

The Civilist with Steven Petrow
Two people watch the sunset

People watch the sunset.

Stephanie Keith/Reuters

On this episode of The Civilist we're going to do something a little different. You might remember a conversation I had with the incomparable Andrew Solomon a few months back. He's a clinical psychology professor at Columbia, and wrote “Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” which details his own struggles with depression.

On our earlier show, Solomon shared his advice about how to come out about depression, and ways to be supportive when a loved one discloses their struggle. If you haven't heard it, I invite you to go back and check out that episode. It's called "Say This, Not That."

But you only heard part of that conversation. And I've been thinking more about that interview, now that we're now smack dab in the dark days of December. It's easy for many to feel a little blue this time of year, but the holidays can be especially difficult for people who are struggling with depression.

This episode is the second part of my interview with Andrew Solomon. This segment goes deeper into the causes of depression, and how the way we talk about mental illness affects the way people see and deal with it. I should tell you that "Noonday Demon” made a tremendous difference in helping me understand my own life-long depression. It inspired me to write an essay in the New York Times called, "Opening Up About Depression." You'll hear it mentioned.

If you're in crisis, don't hold it in. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-8255. Other resources can be found through the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, which is And the Trevor Project ( is a truly amazing service for LGBTQ people in crisis.

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