Document Type

Senior Honors Project

Publication Date



Depressive disorders affect approximately 19 million adults in the United States every year and are the leading cause of disability for ages fifteen through forty-four (Serani 1). Of those who recognize their depression, only 25 percent will seek treatment for their symptoms; the other 75 percent will suffer silently. While some individuals are discouraged from seeking treatment due to stigma, others may neglect treatment simply because they are unaware that they are experiencing depression. For these reasons, a deeper understanding of the experience of depression is needed now more than ever.

To meet this need, I created an interdisciplinary undergraduate course rooted in literature and philosophy. The course is designed for junior and senior-level students who plan to enter the healthcare field. However, the course is a deviation from the traditional science-based course that teaches students about depression. It is discussion-based and centers on reading novels and texts about depression to explore how literary narratives are able to help us expand our understanding of depression and ultimately improve communication with patients with depression.