How JCPS student mental health crisis is Louisville’s ‘unseen epidemic’

Editor’s note: This article discusses mental health. If you are considering self-harm or suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. In addition, Chloe’s experiences are being shared under a pseudonym for her own safety.

There were two small puddles of water on the table as 16-year-old Chloe Duncan and I were sitting outside discussing what life is like for JCPS students. The first was from condensing on a frozen acai strawberry lemonade. The second – from her piercing blue eyes – was a pool of tears. Her stories made me cry too.

Students like Chloe are suffering from a growing national epidemic that is even more deadly to our children than COVID-19. The JCPS has chosen to take the public health emergency seriously, and the Department of Health has reported that no school-age children in Louisville have died from COVID-19. So far in 2021, 29 young men from Louisville have died by suicide. In the face of this loss, the JCPS showed ruthlessness rather than mercy.

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