If you've lost someone very close to you, you understand the grief that follows can consume you. It's almost always a factor in cases of depression. We met a Sioux Falls woman who is still on a journey back from what she calls the deep dark night of the soul after losing her brother 6 years ago.
Kelly Bohrer's world was shattered when her brother, Kevin Knudsen, tragically died after a car accident on September 29th, 2004. The unexpected and sudden death of her only sibling left her in such despair with emotions she never knew existed. She couldn't understand why someone as young as Kevin, only 42, with a wife and 6 children would be taken from them.
Kelly says wiping away tears, "It almost tore my family apart. I couldn't make sense of what was happening to me. How could I possibly explain to my husband and children if I couldn't understand it?"
Psychiatrist Dr. Matt Stanley with Avera Behavioral Health says, "We don't stop and think about it, but grief is far more prevalent in our lives than we realize. What we see on admissions to the hospital at Avera Behavioral Health is grief is almost always a factor, sometimes the precipitating factor, sometimes it's the contributing factor we deal with in cases of major depression."
Kelly says she was in a really bad place for a really long time. She was in and out of the hospital for a year and a half, on suicide watch two or three times and barely functioning at home or work. After a lot of individual and group counseling at Avera Behavioral Health and the right medication she says it's starting to get manageable to live again.
Kelly says, "It left such a hole in me. Part of me died the day my brother died. I'm stronger now. I rely of God. Basically, if not by the Grace of God and the prayers of many, my wonderful support system and the great help at Behavioral Health I would not be here and I tried not to be here. But here I am. God has a purpose for me."
Although it's not easy, the reason Kelly talks openly about her journey is because she wants the stigma of mental health and depression to be wiped clear. She says you have to talk about it and talk to someone or you won't get better. So out of something horrible she wants you to know there is hope because there is help.
In honor of her brother Kevin Knudsen, Kelly started a scholarship fund for kids who can't afford the acceleration program. She wants to keep his winning spirit alive. Read more about that by going to: http://www.avera.org/pdf/amck/HUMAN%20TOUCH%20SPRING%2007.pdf
Trained counselors are also available 24/7 at Avera Behavioral Health by calling:
800-691-4336 or the Helpline! at 211.
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