Fighting back tears, Miss Kenosha 2017 described her on-going battle against depression.
"I've never talked about this before so I'm sorry," Kaitlyn Rhey told an audience Wednesday evening at Civic Center Park just south of the courthouse. The occasion was a gathering to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month.
Rhey, a UW-Parkside graduate who plans to pursue her master's degree in nursing, was crowned a couple of months ago and will participate in the statewide pageant June 17th.
While competing for the title most certainly isn't easy, neither is talking about depression.
In fact, she kept it hidden from the time that she had her first suicidal thoughts at age 14 until her freshman year in college. "I had to put a smile on my face for school functions, baton twirling events--everywhere I went," she said. "Everyone thought I was happy."
The floodgates broke during her freshman year in college, and she started to open up to friends and family.
Her recovery, she says, has been difficult and is on-going. "I still have bad days."
"It's important for people to recognize that we do have the ability to improve our mental health and that people care," Rhey said.
From our partners at WRJN.