Image - balls with smiley and frowny faces
Image - balls with smiley and frowny faces

On the Road to a World Without Depression

Although there are many effective treatments for depression, rates of depression are not going down. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have recommended that we implement currently known effective preventive interventions for depression to reduce the number of new cases.

This talk will present a personal 50-year path committed to preventing mental disorders and influencing major health-science institutions to implement practices to prevent depression; examples of the types of prevention interventions currently available, with illustrations of the methods that have been found most useful (so that lay persons in a broad audience can envision what can be done to prevent clinical depression); a focus on preventing depression during pregnancy and postpartum, the benefit to the mother and to the baby, and how the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that pregnant persons at risk for depression be provided with preventive interventions that have been shown to be effective—and how doing this can have lifetime impact on the health of the babies; how digital tools can be harnessed to reach as many people as possible with these interventions, making it possible to “think globally, act locally and share globally.”

Given that we can now prevent half the cases of clinical depression, what needs to be done to prevent the other half? Bottom Line: The health sciences have made major progress in terms of learning how to prevent depression. We now need to act by putting these methods into practice and reduce much of the suffering due to depression.

About the Speaker

Ricardo F. Muñoz, Ph.D., emigrated from Perú at age 10. He obtained his B.A. from Stanford in 1972 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Oregon in 1977. He was named distinguished professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University in 2012, where he is the founding director of i4Health, the Institute for International Internet Interventions for Health ( He is professor of psychology, emeritus, at the School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco, based at San Francisco General Hospital, where he taught and did clinical work and research for 35 years, and adjunct clinical professor at Stanford University. Muñoz has served on three U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Consensus Committees on prevention of mental disorders. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for distinguished contributions towards the prevention of major depression and the development of Internet interventions to improve mental health worldwide.”


Patrick O'Reilly


Ricardo F. Muñoz

Ph.D., Founding Director, i4Health; Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco

Patrick O'Reilly

Ph.D., Chair, Psychology Member-led Forum, The Commonwealth Club of California—Moderator