Chili father hopes startling new statistics concerning suicide act as a wake-up call

(WHAM photo)

New numbers released Friday point to a troubling trend in the deaths of young people. There has been a significant rise in deaths by homicide, accident and suicide.

The suicide rate rose 56 percent between 2007 and 2016. Among girls, the rate increased by 70 percent.

While this may be surprising to some, it is not to a Chili family. Now, they are working to prevent suicides.

Kenna Dadey was 13 – a daughter, big sister, smart and talented. She could also be the face of a troubling trend in youth suicide.

Kenna’s dad, Pat, hopes the new numbers that show a sharp increase in suicide will be a wake-up call.

“I don’t want another family member to walk into what I walked into with Kenna, to see what I saw and have to do what I did,” said Dadey. “I hope mental health is treated like physical health.”

From social media use to bullying and life pressures, experts don’t always agree on what’s causing more young people to attempt or complete suicide. But everyone agrees greater awareness and more services are essential.

That’s where Pat Dadey comes in. He’s raising money to help those efforts. At Gates Chili High School this year, he brought in Kevin Hines. He survived a suicide attempt from the Golden Gate Bridge and is now a mental health advocate.

Pat says the response from his speech was tremendous.

“I’ve gotten letters, emails. I know it’s working,” said Dadey. “I know we saved a couple of kids, which is just awesome.”

“It makes me feel great,” he added. ‘I know Kenna is smiling down on us.”

This Sunday, the Walk for Kenna will raise money to benefit local mental health and suicide prevention efforts will be held at 9 a.m. at Gates Chili High School.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

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