Saving a life on I-40 hits close to home for Murfreesboro Grandmother

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When Kerline Joseph got in the car Monday to go to work, she could have never guessed the overwhelming moment that awaited her.

All of sudden I just see this lady," Joseph said. "She just had a weird facial expression on her face."

That weird expression was one of despair. A 24-year-old had wandered into the middle of the interstate where I-40 and 24 meet, and she began walking into traffic, unsure if each step would be her last.

"Seeing her at that moment, I just felt like she would be my daughter," Joseph said. She immediately called 9-1-1, telling of the woman walking out into traffic, and was joined by two other good Samaritans who blocked traffic until police arrived to pull the lady to safety, saving her life.

The incident reminds Joseph of a time in her life when she battled the forces of depression and attempted suicide on three separate occasions.

"I felt like those things that happened to me as a child were my fault and I didn't matter," Joseph explained. "God loves you, and there's nothing in this world that you can go through that you can't come out of."

Joseph says the key was opening up and seeking help from professionals like Jeff Fladen from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

"Get help early," Fladen tells anyone struggling with depression." For many people that have made attempts, or thought about making attempts, they've gone on to have wonderful lives."

Add Kerline to that list. She is now a mother and grandmother of five. If you ever doubted that each one of us are on this earth for a reason, remember Kerline.

A smile like hers was meant to shine.

Mental illness affects more than 20 percent of all Americans. If you or someone you know needs help battling their mental illness, they can call the Nashville crisis line 615-726-0125. There is also a mobile crisis line statewide that will allow anyone to talk out an issue over the phone. That hotline can be reached at 855-CRISIS-1.

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