By Cheryl D Howard, Contributing Writer

We have all witnessed or experienced, to some degree, upheaval since the appearance of the Coronavirus. For those suffering from mental illness, it has been especially haunting. We first met Kevin Berthia in 2019. He is a champion advocate for suicide prevention. This remarkable young man has a remarkable tale of defeatism to a defining destiny. Berthia has been challenged with mental illness from an incredibly young age. In 2005, Berthia stood on a narrow ledge of the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to end his life. CHP Officer Kevin Briggs stood on the other side of that ledge and listened to Berthia until the crisis came to a favorable end. Today, as he reflected on that harrowing day, he no longer grieves a dark past. He celebrates hope for a future for himself, for his family, and for the countless number of those who are awaiting to hear the voice of an overcomer.We have all witnessed or experienced, to some degree, upheaval since the appearance of the Coronavirus. For those suffering from mental illness, it has been especially haunting. We first met Kevin Berthia in 2019. He is a champion advocate for suicide prevention. This remarkable young man has a remarkable tale of defeatism to a defining destiny. Berthia has been challenged with mental illness from an incredibly young age. In 2005, Berthia stood on a narrow ledge of the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to end his life. CHP Officer Kevin Briggs stood on the other side of that ledge and listened to Berthia until the crisis came to a favorable end. Today, as he reflected on that harrowing day, he no longer grieves a dark past. He celebrates hope for a future for himself, for his family, and for the countless number of those who are awaiting to hear the voice of an overcomer.

He sat humbly before me as he gave a brief chronicle of this past year going into and through the Coronavirus pandemic. He has been an advocate for suicide prevention and in the recent year he has discovered that it is so much bigger than himself. In April 2020, Berthia was led to break free of the management he was under. Now he is fully representing himself. He recently left a full-time job that was a strain and a burden for him. Berthia now focuses full time on his brand and his new foundation the “Kevin Berthia Foundation”. And the journey begins.     

Berthia has known all along that there was way more for him to do. With his foundation he intends to bridge gaps. In his many travels he has come to realize that this country is not really handling people who are in critical situations and who are struggling with dark places. Berthia is working on partnering with clinicians and therapists so that he can provide services to many who are hurting. The pandemic has turned so many lives upside down, Berthia, not excluded. He was open to tell of his own personal battles and struggles. Berthia is yet having challenges with mental illness. Berthia has decided to commit to therapy and taking medications. He is determined to manage his life so that he can be available to his purpose and to his family.

He has not been able to travel and attend conferences since the pandemic. Berthia acknowledges that people’s everyday routines and coping mechanisms have been thrown off. He himself has had to re-adjust to routines that have changed.
“Now, I don’t have the ability to go speak and that was part of my connection to having a purpose, it was part of my connection to understanding why I am alive, why I am here,” said Berthia.

He soon realized that he did not have to be standing in front of people to make that critical difference. In the pandemic, social media, email, and texting has been a godsend for Berthia.

“My inbox is flooded and there’s somebody every day,” said Berthia.     

Now that the world is opening up a little more, he is scheduled to go and head up some events. God has brought him from a long way. Recently, Berthia has been featured in a film to be included in a docu-series that is possibly being considered to be picked up by Netflix. He is in episode 2, “Not Just a White Thing, Moving America’s Soul on Suicide Part 2” Transparency has been his strength, the more he shares his story, the stronger he becomes.

You can visit the website at www.kevinberthiafoundation.org

To see the film, go to https://youtu.be/V46LJLwhVlw

 

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