Northland woman shares her mental health struggles during Suicide Awareness Month

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:44 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- September marks Suicide Awareness Month, and one woman is stepping up to end the stigma by starting the conversation.

“10 years ago, I had a suicide attempt, and I was never going to tell anybody because of what that meant,” said Dana Stroschein, who lives in the Northland.

Between working as a clinical therapist, and being a single mom, Stroschein struggled with her mental health issues in silence.

The weight of it eventually becoming too much to bear, even years after her attempt.

“One of the things I hear people talk about is how selfish suicide is,” said Stroschein. “The reality is when you’re at that spot, you truly believe that everybody would be better off if you weren’t here.”

Stroschein says there were many factors that pushed her to stay quiet about her continual struggle with mental health, including her fear that she would lose her license as a trauma therapist.

“That shame was so overwhelming that I guess I would have rather died than admit it,” said Stroschein.

But a few months ago, Stroschein decided to was time to do what felt impossible for years, be vulnerable and take the time to heal from her trauma.

“It took a long time for me to get to where I feel like I deserve that,” said Stroschein. “But we do, and I think that’s the big thing that mental illness does. It tells you that you don’t deserve that.”

Stroschein decided it was time to speak out about her story. She says she hopes to show others in the community that they don’t have to struggle alone, and no one has to feel guilty for taking care of themselves.

“I’m not ashamed, we are human,” said Stroschein. “We have human emotions, and we are not robots, and we can’t just walk through life and handle everything perfectly.”

Stroschein says all it takes is one person to start the conversation about suicide awareness. A topic that became especially important to talk about following the pandemic.

“Nationally, 22% of people in 2021, adults, live with a mental health condition,” said Christy Barnar, the President of NAMI Lake Superior South Shore. “And 46% of those attempted suicide or died by suicide.”

Stroschein says that although being in those dark places feels lonely, you’re not alone.

She even started a non-profit, Rise Above Suicide Stigma, that allowed others in the community to talk about their experiences with suicide.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, call 988.

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