Above the influence of Depression By: Niki

By Niki Schuh

When I first began researching about depression I found many articles titled “the science of depression”, or “my depression story”. When I clicked on them they all contained a photo with a man or women looking down, alone, in a dark space. They had a confused or lost look in their eyes and from that, I determined they were depressed. Looking at these people reminded me of the old Above the Influence commercials. Where the user was flattened and sitting on a couch not saying anything with a sad, confused look on their face.


While the main message of this ad was to stop people from smoking marijuana I think it also depicted that a person who uses this drug is depressed. Viewing the ad in this way and knowing people who are struggling with depression I feel they aren’t being represented right. This ad came out around 2009, and it was the first time I had seen an anti drug ad this powerful. Thinking about it now, however, my views have changed.

This topic is touchy for most people and I think this ad is an example of what popular culture has deemed different. If you are introverted, quite, like to be inside, you are weird and need some type of intervention. The actor never says why the girl starting smoking and there are many reasons for it. Is the first reason we go to depression? Mine wasn’t. We assume she was influenced by something and was this “something” the media? Her friends? Did she start smoking to replace eating? We need to focus on stopping the things that make her turn to drugs. We need to stop being judgmental, materialist, D-bags.

While reading the articles one quote stuck out;

“One explanation of this general upward trend is that the rise is actually an artifact, reflecting either increased openness among younger people in disclosing their feelings or a greater precision in diagnoses.”(Goleman, 1992)

I think in some cases we are trying to be more open about it, yet we fail. This ad was almost 6 years ago, and since then they don’t really make any ads like it, unless it’s talking about an antidepressant drug. The same goes for what just happened with Robin Williams, he was in the media for a while and than just wasn’t anyone. We are trying to be more aware, yet its failing. I bet the photo shoot of Kim Kardashian will be in the media longer than Robin William’s death.

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