A Relentless Hope

Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression

A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression. By Gary E. Nelson. Cascade Books (2007).

Book review by Christine Guth

In A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression, Gary Nelson offers to teens and their parents what he has learned from walking closely with his son through prolonged depression, and from counseling many struggling teens and their families. His book testifies that God is at work in our world, offering hope and new possibilities that can transcend even life-threatening mental illness. One of this book's strengths is its warm and empathetic approach to suffering teens and their parents. Recognizing how much stress the illness of one of its members places on the whole family, he cautions parents against turning frustration with the illness into anger toward the teen. He encourages parents above all to ``just keep loving them.''

Nelson's accessible theological reflection is another of the book's strong contributions. He argues that teens need both ``a theology that works in the midst of the suffering'' and ``the opportunity for God to be present through our patient presence.''

I wish that as a teen with depression I had had someone like Gary Nelson to lean on and offer hope, to help me understand what was happening to me and encourage me to extend myself some grace. I especially commend A Relentless Hope to parents and other adults who love someone with depression. While some teens may find the hope Nelson writes about through reading his book themselves, most teens with depression will benefit from companions who embody the acceptance and encouragement that Nelson fosters.

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