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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Mental Health Can Be Complicated, But There Is Help


The loss of a loved one leads to a multitude of questions and emotions. Among them are the “20-20 hindsight” questions. They “If only I had...” “Why didn't I..?” “Why didn't he (or she)...?”

The survivor's guilt as some call it, can result in a trauma of its own, according to Nichole Peralta of Karuna Counseling in Sidney. Peralta is a therapist and trauma specialist.

“I think hindsight is horrible,” she said.

Peralta and Liz Borgmann, who is the local volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and organizer, met June 29 to discuss mental health and depression.

Mental Health and depression frequently center around three areas: environmental factors, genetics or family history and alcohol or drug use.

Depression, according to an article by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, on, is also known as major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that makes a person feel constant sadness or lack of interest in life.

Peralta referred to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study on experiences that impact mental health. The study, first conducted in the 1990s, researches life experiences that can later impact mental and physical health. The topics researched include abuse, neglect, an incarcerated parent. Some of the questions asked on the ACE questionnaire are According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in six adults experienced four or more types of ACEs, ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood and preventing ACEs could reduce the number of adults with depression by up to 44 percent.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP ) works offers resources for people who are considering suicide, those who want to help people at risk and for survivors — those who are trying to process the loss of a loved one. The AFSP can be reached at, 1-800-273-8255, or text TALK to 741741.

Borgmann stressed there isn't one specific right way to recover from loss; each person is different. Peralta said the need for consistent support is important as well, offering that survivors need to “beware of the vacuum.” The vacuum is that period when people start going back to their won responsibilities, and the survivor is left to rebuild their “new reality.” She encourages survivors of loss to find a way of processing that fits them.

“If you don't grieve in a way you need to grieve, it becomes complex,” she said.

Sidney has programs and agencies related to suicide prevention and supporting survivors. Each year the AFSP promotes Out of the Darkness community walks. This year, the Sidney Out Of The Darkness Community Walk is scheduled for 4 p.m. To 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Field No. 3 in Legion Park. The walk is presented by Unified Raiders. Sidney High School sponsored events in the 2020-2021 school year including “86 The Stigma,” encouraging people with stress, depression or mental issues to seek help. Peralta and Borgmann also discussed the difference between prevention and intervention. Intervention is about getting involved with a person, encouraging him or her to seek help, or simply being the listener who helps the struggling person get through the hardship.

Peralta is an instructor in Mental Health First Aid. Borgmann volunteers leading suicide intervention programs.


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