Fighting Addiction and Mental Illness in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-Fighting addiction and mental health problems are a battle that shouldn’t be fought alone. Now one family is sharing their story in hopes that others will get help. It comes after Leah Brosky’s body was found last week, just north of Falls Park. Leah’s brother, Dave says she struggled like too many others with addiction and mental health issues. 

Dave wants his sister Leah to be remembered as a very kind, loving person with a huge heart. He says she cared about and loved all her kids. She was also a great sister. While we do not know the cause of death, Dave believes she lost her fight with addiction. However, he does not want that define her. Instead he wants change. In an email to KDLT he says “Simply put, we need more services and treatment…unfortunately there’s a stigma about addiction and mental health disorders, especially in South Dakota.”

Some folks in the Sioux Falls community agree that something must change. At Face It Together Sioux Falls they offer one-on-one peer coaching where clients struggling with addiction talk with a coach who previously struggled themselves like peer coach Joe Tlustos. He’s talked with folks from all walks of life. 

“It is a public health issue and our job is to help people get well,” said Tlustos.

This is just one of many methods offered in town when it comes to dealing with mental illness. Tlustos says everyone is different, so one option may work better for one person than another. Unfortunately, he sees more people in need than resources available.  

“There are never enough resources. It’s getting better and I think things are starting to open up a bit, but the waiting list to get into patient facilities is long,” said Tlustos.

He says a top priority is removing the negative stigma. 

“We don’t look at this as a moral failing. We look at this as a disease just as you would with cancer and anything else. You wouldn’t be ashamed to go in for cancer treatment,” said Tlustos.

He says some people don’t get the help they need because they are afraid to talk about it.  Once the awareness is there he hopes that opens up the opportunity for more resources to become available.

The city of Sioux Falls is currently working to offer more resources in town. Avera is building an addiction care center. The city is also working on a triage center that would allow people to get treatment as an alternative to going to jail.

If you or a loved one is struggling you can call the Helpline Center at 2-1-1 and they can refer you to the right resources for your needs.





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