Mike Wallace’s Other Legacy: Depression Advocate

Saturday, the world of journalism lost one of its greats, 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace. While most remember the veteran newsman for his probing interviews with the likes of the Ayotollah Khomeini and Vladimir Putin, fewer know about an important role he took on later in life: public spokesperson for depression.

According to Wallace, his experience with severe depression started when he faced a high-profile lawsuit for libel at the age of 66. Although he would go on to win the suit, he found himself stuck with what he described as “an emptiness, a helplessness, an emotional and physical collapse” he had never experienced before, eventually attempting suicide.

After an initial misdiagnosis of exhaustion by his primary physician, Wallace found that a combination of talk therapy, medication, and exercise helped him become well again. Still, he kept the ordeal secret for years, before finally revealing it on the late-night Bob Costas Show. According to Wallace, the courage to come out arrived when he realized some of the people watching television that late might be awake because they were also fighting depression.

Wallace would go on to talk publicly about depression regularly, even speaking before the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging advocating for more federal funds for depression research in 1996.

Hear Mike and his wife Mary discuss the experience–including Mike’s search for the right medication and depression’s effect on their marriage–via the Healthy Minds webcast below, or read his CBS Cares interview here.

Posted by CJ Newton, MA, Counseling.info Editor on April 1, 2012 at 05:00 AM

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