NewsLEX 18 In-Depth


Ending the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide: How local experts are taking initiative

Posted at 7:20 PM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 19:20:46-04

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — Suicide Awareness Month is coming to an end, but continuing the conversation on mental health is needed in our society now more than ever.

“We’ve seen, certainly, an uptick in young people being anxious, having a lot of suicidal ideation – and then a lot of young people and adults as well dealing with the grief of suicide loss,” says EKU professor and clinical psychologist Dr. Melinda Moore.

Dr. Moore was married just eight months to her husband Connor when he died by suicide. She has since dedicated much of her career to suicide awareness with an emphasis on college campuses. She is also an empathetic resource for others who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Eastern Kentucky University is hosting “A Walk for Hope” to reach out to younger people, a segment of our population deemed most high-risk for suicide.

While the walk is for awareness, Dr. Moore says it’s also for those with similar stories to hers.

“To really allow those individuals who have had loved ones die by suicide – allow them to come together and recognize that even though there’s nothing they can do about their loved ones death, they can honor them, they can still love them,” says Dr. Moore.


“It’s such formative years in your development – learning how to talk to one another, learning how to regulate your emotions and deal with stress,” says Dr. Dustin Wygant, director of EKU’s training program for PhDs in psychology.

He says the isolation we all felt during the pandemic has led to more intense struggles for students, which he calls “a national crisis” on college campuses.

The Walk for Hope will be held this Saturday from 6-10 p.m. at EKU’s “The Ravine.”

To reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, call 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit