The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that on average, someone dies by suicide in Kentucky every 11 hours and many of those taking their own life are doing so at younger and younger ages.
Even in the year 2018, there is still a stigma placed on suicide. One man is using his own personal journey through grief to change how others think about suicide.
Inside a Lexington, KY, auto body shop, there is a process of giving life back to something that was once a beauty on the road. Mark Cain likes to joke that he runs the back of the shop and his son, Shelby, runs the front. Together, the two have always shared a love of cars.
"By the time he was 7 he wanted to go racing,” Mark said. “We went racing from the time he was 7 all the way up until he was 23.”
As much as Mark and Shelby shared, there were times the two just couldn't connect.
"When someone is depressed, their feelings and emotions start becoming irrational,” Mark said. “Shelby was up and down, so you never could get on the same page as him. If you are not educated [about mental health] and if you are not talking about it, which is a hard thing [to do], you don't know the signs to look for.”
He's talking about the warning signs that eventually led to Shelby's death by suicide in 2009.
The Cains are not alone when it comes to suicide in Kentucky. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says suicide is the 11th-leading cause of death in Kentucky, and it’s the second-leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10--34 years old.
Dr. Timothy Houchin is a Lexington child and adolescent psychologist who has seen a dramatic increase in younger patients facing mental health issues. He says it’s something we are still not talking about enough.
"Not just open about it in the doctor's office, but open with schools, confidants, teachers, children's peers,” he said. “If someone is talking about the thought of death, suicide, depression or anxiety, then that needs to be conveyed to folks that can actually make a difference.”