Saturday, March 24th, 2018

How Can You Help Prevent Suicide? A Mother Shares The Story Of Her Son’s Death To Save Lives

2014-09-10-KennyLuckyonLawn3When I asked Tricia Baker how her son committed suicide, she kindly said, “We do not say ‘committed suicide.’ This stems from the old belief that suicide is a crime. Suicide survivors and educators are making an effort to change the way we talk about suicide and would rather people say ‘completed suicide’ or ‘died by suicide.'”

Kenny Baker was just 19 years old when he “completed suicide” by train on May 19, 2009. Kenny made his first suicide attempt in December 2008 when he took over 400 Ibuprofen. His mother found him on the bathroom floor. “I am grateful that I found him and was able to save him that day. Kenny promised me that I would never find him on the floor again, and he kept his promise to me,” Tricia said. “I never saw Kenny’s body after his death so I only have good memories of my son. My last words to Kenny were, ‘Kenny, I love you.’ His last words to me were, I love you too, Mom.'”

The night Kenny Baker died by suicide, Tricia’s husband Kurt awoke with a “bad feeling.” Kurt checked the doors of the house to find the back door was left unlocked. “We were worried about Kenny at the time, so my husband went outside the house to look for him,” she said. It was after 2:00 AM, and Kurt saw the police cars at the end of their block towards the entrance to the woods that leads to the train tracks. Kurt told the police that he was looking for his son and described him. Then Kurt overheard one of the officers talk into his radio, “The father is here.” That was the moment Kurt knew that it was Kenny who was on the train tracks. Tricia told me the police came back to their house with Kurt, and she awoke when a bright flashlight was shone in her bedroom. “Kurt sat on the side of the bed to tell me that Kenny was dead, and my life was changed forever.

Tricia Baker is proud of her son. “Kenny was a kind-hearted, thoughtful, generous person. He was shy, soft spoken and very empathetic. Kenny was a math honor student, a gentle soul and always respectful. He was a hard worker and a good athlete,” she tells me. “During high school, he swam on two swim teams and was dubbed ‘Freshman Swim Star.’ Kenny also had a great sense of humor. He was spontaneous and quick-witted and always enjoyed making others laugh. He had many friends, a girlfriend who loved him and a passion for nice cars.” Kenny wanted to be an engineer who designed cars, and his parents knew he had the intellect, imagination and talent to do so — until anxiety and depression squashed his dreams, and Kenny was diagnosed with mental illness at 15.

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The Community Mental Health Celebration and Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament is an annual celebration of the volunteers who serve our community through: their advocacy for funding and services for those with mental illness; their service to those in need; and their education and outreach efforts to help all individuals understand the needs of those living with mental illness. The day of celebration begins with a celebrity charity golf tournament, held this year at the Cypress Run Golf Club. At the end of the day of golf, our golfers will be joined by additional dinner guests for the gala dinner and celebration. After a fabulous meal, we will present the M. A. Bernstein Award for Mental Health Awareness, an award given annually to a volunteer who has devoted his or her efforts to education, awareness and advocacy to improve the lives of those living with mental illness. At the celebration dinner, we will also have a silent auction to raise much needed funds for services to individuals with mental illness. To learn more about this event please click the link below.

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