Carter County walk promotes discussion on suicide - The Trail Blazer: News

Carter County walk promotes discussion on suicide

Makayla Holder and Marie Roberts / Staff | Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2019 10:33 pm

What started as a normal lunch break turned into a startling realization that brought about an annual event in Carter County.

Jill York, a former state representative, organized the second annual Carter County Suicide Prevention Walk Sunday at Carter Caves State Resort Park. The still new event united the community, as many who have lost loved ones to suicide help to erase the stigma around mental illness.

“It’s to encourage everybody to think of depression, anxiety, PTSD and all of those kinds of mental health issues … just like we would any other illness,” said York.

This event was brought about in 2015 when County Sheriff Jeff May informed York that they had their eighth suicide that year. The statistics forced York to realize the problem needed to end.

Dr. Melinda Moore, an assistant professor of psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, spoke at the event about losing her husband to suicide.

 “There about 770 Kentuckians who die by suicide every year; over 47,000 Americans die by suicide,” said Moore.  “It’s the tenth leading cause in the united states and we aren’t talking about it enough.”

This year’s participants walked a mile-and-a-half trail to open that dialogue, where they discussed their experiences, lost loved ones and the harsh words of others. 

“Everybody around me was telling me that there was something really wrong with my husband like he had committed the ultimate sin and that somehow I shared in that responsibility and was tainted by that,” said Moore.

That isolation is something many survivors of suicide feel as do the victims. 

As the participants sent balloons into the air for their loved ones, they all held hope that the isolation and silence will end.

“It’s an important conversation we gotta have. We gotta have it with our friends, neighbors, and those that we love,” said York.