Since tragedy touched her family, Concept Rehab’s Charlene Bohlender has been a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Charlene Bohlender has been a dedicated COTA for Concept Rehab since 1997. She is now the newest board member of Free the Mind, Anchor the Soul—a local nonprofit organization focused on bringing awareness to mental health disorders and helping to break the stigma attached to mental health in West Milton, Ohio and the surrounding communities.
Charlene is a survivor of suicide loss.
On August 23, 2015, Charlene’s family changed forever when her 16-year-old grandson, Bryce, took his life. Charlene’s daughter had just dropped Bryce’s sister off at college when they came home to a parent’s worst nightmare. Without consulting his family, Bryce had stopped taking his anti-anxiety medication, which caused him to quickly cycle into depression and he took his life the day before school started.
That day the family knew their lives had been changed forever.
Charlene’s family never wants anyone to experience the painful loss that they did, so they have dedicated their time to bringing hope to those suffering with mental illness along with education for suicide prevention.
“I vowed to do everything in my power to break the stigma of mental illness, alert parents and teachers to the warning signs of teen suicide and ensure that no other parent had to experience the terrible day.”
Today, Charlene serves as board member of Free the Mind/Anchor the Soul Inc. and is a certified instructor for Youth Mental Health First Aid. Charlene gets the chance to talk to adults who work with the youth about how to identify mental health disorders, common signs of depression, eating disorders, and many others along with how to connect with professional help.
Youth Mental Health First-Aid
Why is this so important?
“There are too many statistics out there showing the detrimental impact of living with a mental illness.”
1 out of 5 teens have a mental health illness, but only 20% of them will get help
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 24
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States
For every death there are an estimated 25 attempted suicides
Of those who take their life, 90% have a diagnosable mental illness
“Suicide is something that people don’t know how to talk about or what to think.”
Free the Mind/Anchor the Soul
Free the Mind/Anchor the Soul is committed to breaking the stigma on mental health by bringing awareness through their annual 5k, community involvement, and supporting educational efforts to equip youth and those working directly with them, in suicide prevention and promoting mental health awareness.