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The Pervasiveness of Suicide in Kentucky and in Louisville Metro

Wednesday September 13, 2006

Health Officials Warn about the Pervasiveness of Suicide in Kentucky and in Louisville Metro

Father of a Victim Alerts Parents

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (September 13, 2006) Health officials and the father of a young man who succumbed to suicide spoke today at the Louisville Metro Health Department to warn the community about the pervasiveness of the problem and to educate the public about what can be done to prevent this tragedy in families throughout Louisville.

“Suicide is a preventable public health problem and any life is too much to lose,” said Metro Health Director Dr. Adewale Troutman.  Dr. Troutman reviewed some of the most recent available data on suicide in Kentucky and in Louisville Metro.  A few statistics are as follows:
• Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Kentuckians age 10 to 24 years of age and the 4th leading cause of death for Kentuckians age 35 to 44.
• Kentucky has the 12th highest suicide rate in the United States.
• Seventy two percent (72%) of suicide deaths in Kentucky were caused by firearms.
• Kentucky loses three times as many people to suicide as it does to homicide.

Vince Gottbrath, whose 24 year old son Jamie committed suicide after falling into a depression following the end of Jamie’s first love relationship, shared the story of his son’s tragedy.  “Parents need to know what to look for so their children can get help,” said Gottbrath.

Dr. Howard Braaco, the CEO of Seven Counties Services, reviewed the warning signs that potential suicide victims may exhibit.  These signs include:
o Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
o Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means
o Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
o Feeling hopeless
o Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
o Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
o Feeling trapped-like there's no way out
o Increasing alcohol or drug use
o Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
o Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
o Experiencing dramatic mood changes
o Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
“Suicide cuts across ethnic, economic, social, and age boundaries,” said Dr. Braaco.

Dr. Troutman said, “Every 18 minutes someone in America dies of suicide, but the bottom line is that help is available.”  Those at risk for suicide may contact:
o Suicide Intervention Crisis Line:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)  Crisis counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
o Seven Counties Services Crisis Line: (502) 589-4313
or 1-800-221-0446  Crisis counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The mission of the Louisville Metro Health Department is to protect, preserve and promote the health, environment and well-being of the people of Louisville.  To learn more about the Health Department’s programs and services go to www.louisvilleky.gov/health.