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Kathy  Cronkite

Kathy Cronkite

Mental Health Advocate

Kathy Cronkite

Mental Health Advocate


Kathy Cronkite is a popular writer, journalist and public speaker. As one of the millions who suffer from clinical depression, she has become a tireless champion for mental health. As an advocate, Cronkite, the daughter of legendary broadcast journalist and anchorman Walter Cronkite, delivers a clear message: “Depression must be accepted as the medical condition it is in order to combat the stigma attached to it and to make help available for those who suffer from it.”

Her book, On the Edge of Darkness: Conversations About Conquering Depression, has received wide acclaim for its informative and eloquent treatment of mental illness. In writing the book, Cronkite interviewed celebrities who suffer from depression, including Mike Wallace, Joan Rivers, Dick Clark, Kitty Dukakis, Rod Steiger, Rona Barrett, Jules Feiffer, John Kenneth Galbraith, and William Styron. Combined with interviews with well-known researchers of mental illness, these celebrity conversations cast a dispelling light on the myths and stigma that surround mental illness.

Her knowledge and work are well respected by professionals in the mental health field. As a layperson who has researched extensively the causes and cures of depression, she is uniquely qualified to educate other laypeople on these matters. As a consumer of mental health resources, she brings hands-on experience to her critiques of the services available in this country.

Awarded by the Texas Psychological Association for outstanding public contribution to psychology in 1999, Cronkite has appeared many times on television and radio. Her appearance on The Today Show prompted over 12,000 calls in three hours to the 800 number of the National Institute of Mental Health, where she served on the advisory board of grant reviews. She also worked on the Communications Workgroup and the Bridging Science and Services Workgroup.

In 1994, Cronkite was presented with the National Institute of Mental Health's D/ART Public Service award, and in 1996, with the William Styron Award given by the National Mental Health Association. This award is presented to a prominent American who has managed a mental illness and helped others through his or her openness and outspoken advocacy. She was also the recipient of the Media Award from the Mental Health Association of Austin in 1987 and 1996.

Cronkite drew on her experiences as the daughter of famed television newscaster Walter Cronkite in penning her first book, On the Edge of the Spotlight: Celebrities’ Children Speak Out About Their Lives. Using a similar method to the one that she later employed in On the Edge of Darkness, she interviewed the children of celebrities to explore the challenges and privileges that were afforded to them.

Always informative, her presentations are enlivened with compassion, humor, and honesty. With a conviction born of experience, Cronkite delivers a message of hope and a call to understanding.

Speaker Videos

Passionate Advocacy

The Power of One

Speech Topics

The Costs & Consequences of Depression

Kathy Cronkite discusses the costs to business, stigma and accommodations of mental health. The fact is, almost 1/5 of your employees may have depression, and you can’t afford to let this go overlooked! Lost productivity accounts for much of the nationwide economic cost — over $83 billion a year, more than the war in Afghanistan. For example, a 25-year-old woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder could lose as many as 14 years of functionality if her illness is undiagnosed or untreated, one of the reasons that everyone needs to learn to recognize mood disorders. Almost 70% of people with bipolar are misdiagnosed initially, and on average, their illness remains undiagnosed for seven to ten years. Cronkite knows all too well that mental illness affects an entire life. As an employer, it is imperative to combat the stigma of mental health and strive to do what is best for your team.

Depression or Drugs: Can You Tell the Difference?

A third to a half of people with a mental illness abuse substances; the same number who abuse substances also suffer from depression. The most difficult task is distinguishing between the two. Can you spot an employee with substance abuse? Or do they suffer from depression? Or both? Which do address first? All professionals are at risk when it comes to mental health and Kathy Cronkite can help you protect your employees.  

Not Just the Blues: Depression in the Family

From personal experience, Kathy Cronkite can tell you how much depression affects your whole world. Inevitably, it takes a toll on home and family life. Statistically, women are twice as likely as men to have depression, which has an even greater effect on the family. Cronkite takes a hands on approach to rebuilding life after treating depression and acknowledging that depression can enter the family through any member, young or old.

Here's What You Need to Know About Depression

How can you try to invent and promote a cure for an illness you don’t understand? Kathy Cronkite seeks to educate those very people who have been blindly promoting depression and mental illness drugs for years – the sales reps. She wants and works hard to help them understand how doctors deal with their patients with these diseases and provides them with a personal story. With Cronkite’s help, the reps can talk more knowledgeably with their clients and understand the crucial, life-saving job that they do as reps.

Never. Never. Never Give Up: We Need You.

When in the lab, researchers can have a hard time understanding and appreciating their work – they don’t see the end result. What Kathy Cronkite aims to do is to put a human face and personal experience into the labs as well as the vision of scientists and researchers who make cures for depression. With the end result in mind, this speech offers a greater understanding and a more tangible cause behind the work going on in the lab. 

Recognize the Symptoms, Recognize the Experience: A Patient's Point of View

With something like mental illness, it is difficult to find healthcare from someone who understands. Kathy Cronkite has found that not only psychiatrists, but other health professionals welcome and appreciate a greater understanding of what their patients are going through. With expert knowledge on mental illness and a personal story from Cronkite, they can treat patients more effectively and with greater empathy.

Mental Health: It's Not Just for Kids Anymore

Depression among the elderly is often misguided, undiagnosed, overlooked, or dismissed as part of aging. Meanwhile, it affects about 6% of elders and 50% of those in nursing homes. While childhood depression is given so much attention, our seniors are suffering. Kathy Cronkite works to bring attention to all victims of depression because she knows how much it hurts.

The Stigma of Age & Depression

Ageism among doctors can lead them to overlook symptoms of depression. Stereotypes lead to poor health outcomes and worsen the outlook for heart disease and diabetes, among other common illnesses of age – it’s a vicious cycle! Kathy Cronkite shares with audiences how we all can work together to eliminate stigmas. Doctors owe each of their patients the same attention and respect, whether they’re young, old, ill, or healthy.