When Johann Hari was a teenager, he was desperate for relief from depression. He was given a familiar prescription: “You have a chemical imbalance and these drugs will balance it out.” It wasn’t wholly false, Hari insists, but it was drastically oversimplified.
“We have scientific evidence for nine different causes of depression and anxiety. Two of them are indeed in our biology,” Hari explains. “But most of the factors that have been proven to cause depression and anxiety are … in the way we live. And once you understand them, it opens up a very different set of solutions that should be offered to people alongside the option of chemical antidepressants.”
In this talk, Hari explores two of these causes — loneliness and “junk values” — and tells stories of people fighting them in humane, communal ways.