No More Secrets

Kathy Cronkite stepped away from the darkness of depression into the light of hope.
In 1996, Kate received the National Mental Health Association’s William Styron Award given to a prominent American who has managed a mental illness and helped others through his or her openness and outspoken advocacy.

“Stigma kills.” Kathy “Kate” Cronkite is on a mission to drive home that message. The secret shame that prevents clinically depressed people from seeking treatment can not only destroy quality of life, she says, it can take life. This November, Kathy brings her powerful message to Vero Beach and Palm City, when she headlines Suncoast Mental Health Center’s two-day “Finding Peace Amid the Chaos” fundraiser.

Kathy, a long-time mental health advocate and author of On the Edge of Darkness: Conversations about Conquering Depression, managed to step back from the abyss of clinical depression only after spending far too many years teetering on its edge. As the daughter of broadcast journalist and news anchor Walter Cronkite, she had “every financial, educational and social resource,” but even as a child, she says, she was overcome by depression. “Nowhere is it truer that money can’t buy happiness than when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff and down is the only conceivable direction,” she explains. 

Kathy’s book describes a life disrupted by intermittent episodes of uncontrollable crying; withdrawing from friends; self-medicating; battling anger, sleeplessness and self-hatred; and, at times, even considering suicide – all while wearing a “mask of normalcy” that kept others from seeing the hopelessness that she sometimes felt.

Categories: Features