Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Western Kentucky teen shares her story of suicidal thoughts to help others feeling the same way

Teen suicide is often a taboo subject that doesn't get discussed until after someone has committed suicide or has made a suicide attempt. A 14-year-old girl in Western Kentucky, who had thoughts of suicide, has come forward to share her story with The Paducah Sun in the hope that it helps other teens who are feeling the same way, reports Kentucky Health News, a service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which also publishes The Rural Blog. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2013 data, 11 out of every 100,000 young people die by suicide.

"Sophie Henney of Paducah chose two days after her 14th birthday to tell her story of depression and thoughts of suicide. She wanted to share her story—and her name—to help others who may be in the same situation," Genevieve Postlethwait reports for The Sun.

"On the way to church on New Year's Eve night, Sophie told her mom, Peggy, 'I wouldn't hurt myself, but I don't want to go back there to that school. I'd rather be dead,'" Postlethwait writes. Sophie attended a small private school and hadn't had a pleasant fall semester: the other girls in her class were excluding her, and she had thought some of them were her friends. Peggy told Postlethwait, "We found out several months later she was actually formulating a plan to do it. As much attention as I was paying to her, I still didn't know. I beat myself up for several months, thinking that there was more I could have done."

Postlethwait writes, The stigma surrounding suicide and a lack of information about it are two main things that stand in the way of changing the way people talk about suicide, said Laurie Ballew, medical director of Lourdes Behavioral Health in Paducah.

Sophie told Postlethwait, "I was very relieved when we went to Christmas break, and by New Years Eve, I was like, I don't want to go back. I want this to be over. I don't want to see them again. The only thing I can really think of to say is, get help. That's what made me better. Tell somebody. Talk to somebody. don't just keep it quiet." The Paducah Sun is behind a paywall.

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