Sam Leith

Books Podcast: What really causes depression?

Books Podcast: What really causes depression?
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In this week’s Spectator Books podcast — arranged in partnership with the male suicide prevention charity CALM — I talk to Johann Hari about his controversial new book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression — and the Unexpected Solutions.

In it, Hari argues that the psychiatric establishment overprescribes chemical antidepressants, and that the orthodoxy that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain is wrong. The book has already caused fierce debate — with not only Hari’s arguments but (in light of the 2011 scandal that came close to ending his journalistic career) his integrity coming in for criticism.

I ask him about what he sees as the true causes of depression, what we can do to alleviate it, and how his own experience has informed this new book. We’re joined by CALM’s operations director Joel Beckman, who is able to bring his organisation’s deep experience of the field to bear on the discussion. You can listen here:

CALM’s helpline and web-chat are open 5pm to midnight every day, for more info visit