Survivor speaks out about a silent killer in hopes of preventing more deaths
MAYFIELD, KY – There’s a silent killer that survivors are speaking up about. This time last year, Kentucky’s suicide rate was higher than the national average.
The rates are higher specifically among teenagers. Because of that, one suicide survivor is going from school to school, using his story to help students who face similar struggles.
Drew Bergman was only 16 years old when he decided he was going to take his own life.
“I attempted suicide on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t want to live to see another year. That was what I had planned, and that was what I really thought was going to be the end for me,” Bergman said.
That moment would later bring him to schools in Mayfield to share his story. Bergman travels the U.S. and talks with students in hopes of preventing them from making a deadly decision.
“It’s the most preventable death. It’s 100 percent preventable if we can get treatment. Nobody wants to die. They just want the pain to end. If we can provide them with another source of hope, they will take it,” Bergman said.
Last year, more than 6,500 local high school sophomores took a survey in which 13 percent said they’d planned to take their own life and more than 9 percent said they attempted suicide.
School counselor Cindy McIntosh said parents can intervene and prevent that percentage from going up.
“Be available for those difficult talks. Approach the subjects you’re uncomfortable with, because they need to talk about them, too,” McIntosh said.
This is Bergman’s message to those going through those struggles: “I can’t promise you that tomorrow it will get better or the next week it will get better. But, in time, with effort, and treatment, and all of the things that go into recovery, things can and will get better.”
EDIT: Bergman is a native of Philadelphia. Both Lourdes Hospital and the Graves County ASAP Office brought him to Mayfield to speak at four different schools as a part of their effort to educate students and teachers about mental health.
For more information on suicide prevention and ways you can intervene, click here.