February 11, 2016

28° Fair

Epidemic of despair

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 25, 2003

Nobody wants to think about suicide, much less talk about it.

But Jenny Aker thinks about it everyday.

Her son, Matthew, killed himself at age 23 in July 2000.

“I don’t think there’s ever five minutes of a day when I don’t think about it,” Aker said. “It’s always on my mind.”

Aker, who lives in Frankfort, said although it’s been almost three years since the day she found her only son had died from a self-inflicted gunshot, the pain hasn’t diminished much.

“It will still sometimes take my breath away when I think about it,” she said. “My analysis is it’s like being stabbed to death and you won’t die.”

Someone in the United States dies every 18 minutes as a result of suicide, according to 2003 figures from the American Association of Suicidology.

Kentucky’s suicide rate of 13.07 per 100,000 people is higher than the national rate of 10.66 per 100,000 according to statistics from 2000 data from the Kentucky Department of Health.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.