Message from the Director

More than 1 in 5 Americans experience depression or bipolar disorder during their lifetime. These common illnesses can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Depression and other mood disorders can cause intense personal suffering, strained relationships, decreased productivity and an increased risk for suicide. However, we know a great deal about how to treat these problems successfully. If you have depression or bipolar disorder, there are many reasons for hope.

The University of Louisville Depression Center, is working to bring the highest quality treatments for mood disorders to people in Kentucky and the surrounding region. And, through its involvement with the National Network of Depression Centers, the U of L Depression Center is part of a comprehensive and far-reaching effort to develop newer and more effective therapies. Together we are building the knowledge to improve the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder and to help people recover from these conditions.

Many treatments that are currently available, including medications and psychotherapies, can dramatically improve mood disorders. For many people, these treatments can completely relieve symptoms and sustain recovery for many years or a lifetime. However, research shows that most persons with mood disorders are not getting the help they need. Some people worry about stigma or fear treatment, doubt the ability to get an accurate diagnosis, or worry about the intensity and quality of therapies and access to treatments that work.

At the University of Louisville Depression Center, we address these concerns by providing “evidence-based” treatments (therapies that have been shown to be effective in research studies) to as many persons as possible, and influencing care throughout the region by educating providers and the public on use of these treatments.

Although we are making progress in the treatment of mood disorders, studies have found that a significant number of people who receive standard treatment may not reach full recovery and may continue to have symptoms for many months or years afterwards. Some people have to fight chronic depression or recurring symptoms for much of their lives. In an effort to find solutions to this problem, intensive research is being conducted nationwide on topics such as the genetics and neurobiology of depression, advanced forms of therapy, and optimal care plans.

The University of Louisville Depression Center has developed specialty programs for persons with treatment-resistant depression (when symptoms have not responded fully to one or more courses of standard antidepressants) and bipolar disorder. These programs are designed to systematically implement the best treatment options, including new research breakthroughs, in finding the way to recovery and long-term wellness.

Evidenced-based approaches include cognitive-behavior therapy (a practical form of psychotherapy with an especially strong research background) which is a particular strength of the U of L Depression Center. Faculty and staff therapists are highly experienced in cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and are actively involved in research, writing, and lecturing on this treatment approach.

Our computer-assisted therapy program brings some of the newest and most engaging treatment options to this region. Innovative multimedia and virtual reality computer applications are available to help build coping skills to manage depression and anxiety.

A Depression Center offers a powerful way to bring people together to improve treatment, provide effective education, and promote research. I hope that you will take the opportunity to learn more about the University of Louisville Depression Center on this web site. You can also call us at 502-813-6634 or e-mail us to get further information on our programs or to learn how you can contribute to the work of the Center.


Jesse H. Wright, M.D., Ph.D
Professor and Director
University of Louisville Depression Center