A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Louisville campaign aimed at decreasing high suicide rate of LGBTQ+ youth with focus of parental support

A new campaign in Louisville is working to decrease the high suicide rate among high school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning by emphasizing the importance of parental support. In the United States, high school students who identify as LGBTQ are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender, heterosexual peers, according to the National...

Keven Moore: What to do to reduce PTSD with first responders? Needs to be treated as workplace issue

In Covington, after 26 years of service, Assistant Chief Chip Terry went into a deep depression shortly after retirement. Everybody I have talked to who knew him has told me that he was a wonderful family man who loved his community and his children. But his service to the community took a toll on his life and in September 2017 he took his own life. In a speech that recapped his life at his retirement,...

National awards program seeks Kentucky’s top youth volunteers; two honorees receive $1,000 scholarships

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is looking for Kentucky’s top youth volunteers of the year. Students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. The application is available at spirit.prudential.com and www.nassp.orgt. The Prudential...

Commonwealth Fund’s state scorecard finds deaths from suicide, alcohol, drugs, are regional epidemic

KyForward staff Deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs have reached an all-time high, but affect states in different ways, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s just released 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance. “What we’re seeing is a regional epidemic when it comes to premature deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, Commonwealth Fund President....

Rural Blog: Research links depression and suicide to chronic disease, especially for rural seniors

Research increasingly links depression and suicide to chronic disease, especially among seniors in rural U.S. “Rural America has some of the highest rates of chronic disease in the nation – the more remote a community, the more heart disease, cancer and diabetes. And there’s a side effect from having a chronic condition many people don’t think about – depression, anxiety and even suicide,”...

Dr. Mark Goulston: ‘Yes, your kid’ — every child is at risk for suicide, and it just keeps happening

(Editor’s note: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kentuckians aged 15-54. More than twice as many people die by suicide in Kentucky annually than by homicide. Teen suicides are dramatically on the rise. According to the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 15 percent of Kentucky high school students (1 in 7) reported having seriously considered...

Life expectancy rises around globe as increased suicide, opioid crisis contribute to decrease in U.S.

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service It’s no longer a secret that Americans are dying at an alarming rate from a nationwide opioid crisis and increased suicide rate, and those factors also are contributing to reduction in life expectancy. Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a sustained, three-year drop in life expectancy not seen since 1918, when it was...

Pew Trusts: Kentucky among states to strengthen school-based suicide prevention laws in 2018

By Christine Vestal Pew Charitable Trusts For Portland resident Stephen Canova, thoughts of suicide came unexpectedly one December night. Then 20, a sophomore in college, unhappy and disconnected from his tightknit home community, he tried to kill himself. “I had no idea I had it in me,” Canova said. “I don’t remember a lot about that night. But I do know this — when I tried to kill myself,...

Constance Alexander: The semicolon is a valuable writing tool, that could some day save a life

“The great thing about the semicolon,” I tell my students, “is that it can make your writing look more sophisticated, and forge longer sentences that are flowing, not choppy.” But what I like best about semicolons is how Amy Bleuel transformed the symbol into a badge of hope. Thanks to her, the punctuation mark is a way to honor those who struggle with depression, suicide addiction, anxiety,...

Officials drawing attention to magnitude of state’s suicide problem during Suicide Prevention Week

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service The data on suicide in Kentucky is staggering, with one person taking his or her own life every 11 hours. And state health officials are among those elevating the magnitude of the problem during Suicide Prevention Week, September 9-15. State Suicide Prevention Coordinator Tammy Barrett said all Kentuckians should understand that suicide is preventable, and people...

Kentucky Health News: Celebrity suicides raise concerns; Kentucky rate higher than most states

“The suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain just days apart . . . have mental health professionals worried about the potential for what’s known as a ‘contagion’ effect, but at the same time they say media coverage may lead people to seek help,” Marek Mazurek and Laney Ruckstuhl report for The Boston Globe. Click to enlarge “Anytime there’s...

WDRB Media: State Rep. Dan Johnson commits suicide; under investigation for sexual molestation

Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson, who was under investigation for alleged sexual molestation, has committed suicide. Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said Johnson shot himself on a bridge on Greenwell Ford Road in Mt. Washington, and the gun was recovered. Don Johnson speaks from his pulpit (Photo by Ryland Barton, WFPL) Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson posted the following message on his...

Ky. teen suicide rate more than doubles in two years; One in 12 sophomores report trying to kill themselves

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A recent survey found that one in 12 of Kentucky’s high-school sophomores said they had attempted suicide, prompting experts on the topic to discuss what is being done about it. The main solution offered was more family support for teenagers, even those who may be only temporarily troubled. In a tone of incredulity, Dr. Allen Brenzel, medical director of...

Stephen Pruitt: Meeting both the mental and emotional needs of our most vulnerable children

By Stephen Pruitt Special to KyForward The numbers are sobering. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the second leading cause of death in 2015 among those aged 15-24. And the National Alliance on Mental Illness says 90 percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Kentucky is not immune to the prevalence of mental illness or suicide. In a 2016...

KIP survey indicate alarming number of Kentucky teenagers have contemplated suicide

The first few weeks of a new school year can be overwhelming and sometimes very difficult for many students. With classes now back in session across the Commonwealth, officials want school staff and parents to know about that a recent report that indicated an alarming number of Kentucky teenagers have considered or attempted suicide. The report, from Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP), shows...

One in 12 Ky. high-school sophomores in 2016 poll said they’d attempted suicide in previous year

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A 2016 survey found that 8.2 percent of Kentucky’s high-school sophomores – about one in 12 – said they had attempted suicide at least once in the previous 12 months. That may seem high, but the national rate is even higher: 9.4 percent. “We need to take that seriously,” Dr. Julie Cerel, a psychologist and professor at the University of...

Constance Alexander: Coalition gives hope and provides education regarding suicide

My friend took a life. Her own. She planned it the way she did everything. With meticulous attention to detail. She focused her efforts on avoiding intervention or detection, keeping her eyes on her goal. She knew her intense sense of privacy would be lost as a result of her act, but she did all she could to minimize impact on those who would find her. She left detailed directions, including letters...

High suicide rate in rural Kentucky attributed to poor mental health access, stigma, ‘gun culture’

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News After a decade of decline, suicide is becoming more common in the United States, increasing by 24 percent from 1999 through 2014, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report looked at cause-of-death data between 1999 and 2014 and found that suicide rates increased for both males and females in all age groups from 10 to...

Mike Farrell: No matter how hard we try, suicide is beyond understanding, explanation

They were just two lines in the New York Times online: The Marin County sheriff’s office said in a statement that it “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.” An investigation was under way. Robin Williams, who made us laugh for more than three decades, apparently drowned in his own depression. It is beyond understanding, and it is certainly beyond explanation.   Robin Williams The...