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Smile... A life may be at risk

Suicide prevention, awareness events on tap locally

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Jamie and Stephanie Ketchell of Cable hold a poster size photo of their son Kamden Ketchell, a Triad Middle School student who died of suicide April 28. He would have celebrated his 12th birthday Wednesday. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

Kamden Ketchell used to have the brightest smile. But for some reason, it faded a few years ago to be replaced by a forced smile he would put on for pictures or when he was supposed to be happy, his parents say.

And on April 28, Jamie and Stephanie Ketchell came face-to-face with their worst nightmare when they found the 11-year-old Triad Middle School student dead in his room of an apparent suicide.

“He was a normal kid, very active and he loved sports,” the father said, “but he was socially awkward and was having difficulties with other kids bullying him and problems making friends.”

“We don’t know why he did it,” the mother added. “We found him in the room, but he didn’t leave a note or anything.”

The Ketchell family is one of 14 that Logan-Champaign Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services’ Local Outreach for Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) response team has assisted to date this year, projects director Molly Smith said.

And they continue to provide “postvention” services to those families during regular support group meetings or special events such as Saturday afternoon’s International Survivors of Suicide Day event or the September memory walk that drew about 300 people to Ohio Caverns.

“It’s about connecting survivors with other survivors,” Ms. Smith said, noting that without intervention those who lose a loved one to suicide are six times more likely to commit suicide themselves. “The sooner we can get them support, their own risk of suicide decreases.”

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