Twelve percent of high school sophomores in Kentucky have a suicide plan and eight percent have attempted suicide. A report by Kentucky Incentives for Prevention says there’s also a disturbing national trend among younger children. The suicide rate for 10-to-14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014.
The tragedy of adolescents taking their own lives is a reality in Kentucky. A Hardin County mom, Melanie Carter-Hack, talks about the bullying that she believes contributed to the suicide of her 12-year-old daughter, Reagan Carter.
"We were living in Bardstown, Kentucky in Nelson County and Reagan was a 7th grader at Bardstown Middle School. We had never had any issues in the primary school, the elementary school. I mean, these were kids she had grown up with. And then 7th grade year was just a little bit different.
That year there was a group of four girls that had started to target Reagan. One of those girls, my understanding is, liked a boy that liked Reagan instead. So it started out they would call her names, make rude comments on her pictures on Instagram or Snapchat and it just continued to get worse.
The first time we went to the principal was in October because Reagan had called me really upset at school, had been crying, wanted me to come pick her up because the girls had called her a derogatory name.
The school that she went to, their policy to handle bullying was peer mediation and conflict resolution. When it’s true bullying their clear motivation is to put somebody down, to demean them, to humiliate them, to intimidate them. And then you have the victim who’s talking about what are those things that are really bothering them, well then you’re just giving that person more ammunition. And that’s exactly what ended up happening with Reagan.
There was another situation where Reagan’s dad and I decided, OK, you know enough is enough, it’s not getting better so we’re going to look for a different school. We were actually going to tour the county school and two of the private schools. We didn’t do it fast enough. We didn’t act fast enough to get her out of there.
Reagan wanted to go with a friend and her friend’s dad to a ball game. I picked her up from the ball game and she got into the van and nothing, didn’t say anything.
She went into her room and then about an hour later she came out and that’s when she told me she thought she needed to go to the hospital because she felt like she was gonna to pass out. So I asked her what was wrong, why do you think you’re sick and she said she had taken some pills. So we ran to her room for her to show me the bottle and it was a prescription cough medicine. I said, “Reagan, how many did you take?” and she said, “I don’t know.” We were in the kitchen and I said, “Reagan, you’re going to be sick. They’re going to pump your stomach, but you’re going to be OK.” And I said, “Reagan why would you do this?” And the last words she said to me were, “Because I’m tired of everybody hating me.” So that’s when she collapsed.
The ambulance had gotten there and then we got to the hospital and then she was in a coma for five days before we lost her.
And so we have to keep that from happening to somebody else. You know, something has to change because we’re losing our kids."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.