Louisville on pace for most suicides in five years

Louisville on pace for most suicides in five years
Published: Sep. 24, 2015 at 8:03 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 8, 2015 at 9:54 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kaitlyn Yates still remembers when she found her sister Maddie dead in her room last year.

"Her eyes were open and they weren't moving, but what really got me was when I was outside and the paramedics, they walked in slowly into the house and that's when I knew that something could be done," Yates said.

Maddie Yates was 16 years old and a student at Male High School in Louisville when she posted a goodbye video on Facebook and took her own life in April 2014.

She was one of 76 suicides in the city that year. Right now, Louisville already has 80 and it's on pace for a new record.

At this same time in 2014 the city had 61 suicides, a number that had been declining for the past four years.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the issue is one of the focuses of the city's new One Love Louisville program.

"It's overwhelming so we're trying to get at it at all different angles," Dr. Sarah Moyer, a medical director at the city's department of public health said. "Our preventions may not do anything tomorrow for preventing suicides but hopefully we'll see some results in five or 10 years."

The project targets any violence around the city including murders and suicides.

Yates's mother, Annis, says speaking to your children and seeking help early on is the best way to prevent suicide.

"Sometimes kids will share with other kids or complete strangers to them, acquaintances more than their best friends," Annis Yates said.

She calls the 80 suicides so far this year, "overwhelming", and says, "Every time I hear of one my heart breaks a little more because I wish that she was the last one."

For a list of suicide resources, including crisis centers, click here.

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