Mercer Co. family using their daughter’s story to grow awareness for mental health
MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - September is Suicide Prevention Month. It’s the 11th leading cause of death in Kentucky and for people struggling, the pandemic has only made things worse. One Mercer County family is turning their personal tragedy into a conversation that for some might be uncomfortable, but one that could ultimately also save a life.
When you see a flower you might only see its beauty, but sometimes if you look closely at the petals, there are imperfections, and they don’t make it any less beautiful.
In the Rogers family home, there is healing in something as simple as what petals represent.
“It’s kind of hard to look at pictures and I still can’t watch videos,” said Kent Rogers.
Susan and Kent Rogers’ beautiful and budding daughter Chloe was like a flower, she was vibrant and colorful.
“She was fun and she enjoyed life and she loved doing things with her family and friends,” said Susan Rogers.
“She was a free spirit and just fun loving, she loved to dance,” said Kent.
But she also had her imperfections, like anxiety as a young girl that only got worse as they watched their daughter grow.
“We just thought it’s a stage she’s going through and as she gets older she struggled through college just the same feelings,” said Kent.
Looking back, the Rogers admit they knew their daughter was struggling.
“I feel like we hid it from other people and not to make her feel embarrassed because that’s how she felt, she felt embarrassed, she felt stupid, she felt dumb,” said Susan.
For 23-year-old Chloe Rogers, the pressures of college and then COVID hitting last year ended up sadly being too much. She died by suicide in June of 2020. She had just graduated from Eastern Kentucky University.
“It’s so hard when they are an adult because you can’t make appointments for them, you can’t make them go places, even when you know they need help. I just feel like that is something really needs to change because when a person is in crisis, they can’t make the best decisions for themselves,” said Susan.
Suicide is a reality that many Kentucky families face. The latest data from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says in 2019, 756 people died by suicide in Kentucky. It’s the state’s 11th leading cause of death and second among those ages 10-34.
The Rogers, still grieving, have vowed to change the conversation on mental health with Chloe’s Petals for Hope.
“We are just trying to collaborate with other organizations and get the message out there that mental health does matter and it’s important for your overall wellbeing and people really do have to talk about it,” said Rogers.
It’s healing born out of the need to reach others before it’s too late.
“We maybe didn’t help Chloe enough even though we thought we helped her by not reaching out and not being more vocal about it,” said Susan.
The family has started a walk to raise awareness about suicide prevention and also use Chloe’s story to let others know it’s okay to not be okay.
“We want people to know how much we loved her and if we can just help one other person, one other family not have to go through this ordeal that is what our hope is,” said Kent.
The pain is still very real, that their daughter in life couldn’t see what others saw, a beautiful flower ready to bloom for the world. Her absence has left her parents missing so much, her hugs, her voice and her laugh.
Their daughter loved sunflowers, so now guided by faith, Susan and Kent are using that to grow awareness. The petals adorning their home are now a beacon of hope for other families.
“I don’t think Chloe really knew how much people loved and cared about her, we like to think that she can see that it’s making a difference for somebody,” said Kent.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number at 800-273-TALK (8255).
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