Eight suicides in a month make for ‘mental health crisis’ in PIke

Pike County (Wikipedia map)

By Stan Ingold, WEKU

Officials in Eastern Kentucky are dealing with what they are calling a “mental health crisis.” In Pike County, over the last 30 days at least eight people have committed suicide.

To put that into perspective, the county had eight suicides in all of 2023, said Tammy Riley, the county’s public health director. She said there are two common occurrences with these incidents.

“In a short span on time, the suicides have all been adults, ranging from the 30’s to the 80’s as far as years of age, primarily all have been male, and the mode has all been via firearms.”

She said many agencies are banding together to address the issue, including “Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, that’s the federally qualified help center that is our primary provider for mental-health services for Pike County. We’re also working with the Pike County coroner’s office, the judge-executive’s office, as well as resources available through the Kentucky Department of Public Health.”

Riley said the county is working on hosting several events in the coming days to make sure people are aware of resources that can help.

She also encouraged the use of the 988 crisis hotline for anyone who may feel they are in some kind of mental distress. Anyone can call or text 988 at any time to speak to someone qualified to help.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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