Mikey Cates Makes Suicide Round Trip Survives To Tell The Tale

by | Nov 24, 2017 | City News, County News, Cullman, Cullman City, Get Smart, Good Hope, Hanceville, Interviews, Public Safety, Videos

Mikey Cates is a former crew member with the U.S Army’s 181st Field Artillery. He is a lifelong resident of Arkadelphia in southwestern Cullman County.

Mikey is also an expert on the many mysterious ways of the Black Warrior River.

Up until two years or so ago, he had no meaningful issues with mental or emotional health. He was just your typical Cullman County guy.

However, when his father committed suicide in 2016, Mickey could not efficiently cope with the sense of loss, feelings of grief, quandaries over blame and much more:

“I fell apart after my Dad’s suicide.”

At Mickey’s lowest point a little over one year ago, he very consciously decided that he had enough. It was at this point; Mickey walked out to his workshop, got a tie strap, formed a noose and hung himself.

In this interview, Mikey explains all this with stunning clarity and recall. More importantly, he walks us down the path of how he survived that self-inflicted attempt at suicide AND how he is now free of the crippling depression with no inkling of lingering suicidal tendencies.

Mickey is also now 100% drug-free in his successful effort to ‘just be me’.

This the 1st installment of a multiple part series on the topic of emotional and mental health wellness in Cullman County through Cullman Today.

Tomorrow evening, we will hear from Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry and Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick. Law Enforcement personnel and the Coroner’s Office are the first see and deal with suicides across the county.

Sunday night we will discuss the subject with Paster Malcolm Carter of Temple Baptist Church. In an intimate talk, we delve into the rising pandemic of mental disorders and how his church is on the Spiritual forefront of assisting everyone through their innovative program: ‘Oasis: Where Hope Is Found.’

There will be more after these first three segment from other experts on the subject from all walks of life.

With 30 suicide attempts resulting in deaths so far in 2017 (and countless attempted suicides and ‘altered mental status’ calls to 911), the public and private burden placed on our community by this escalating, multi-dimensional challenge of rapidly declining mental health have reached a crisis point.

(We had only 15 total suicide deaths in 2016 according to Coroner Kilpatrick).

The mental health care system in Cullman County has limited resources, the detention center is not a suitable housing option for deeply disturbed individuals, and area cemeteries are the last places our fellow citizens should end up when all else fails.

Ultimately, like the slowly decaying farm-to-market roads in Cullman County, the mental and emotional health of our residents is being neglected. Our community leaders just do not have the financial resources to make dramatic improvements nor the technical expertise. There will be no fiscal bailout, no magic pill, and as it looks at the moment, like there is nothing representing anything more than ‘a drop in the bucket’ on the horizon.

The solution to mental and wellness will not come from some outside agency. Instead, it ultimately lies within each one of us. Our goal in this series will be to open doors, provide an education, and reveal the various forms of assistance available to everyone.

This positive story from the brave Mikey Cates is the first door.

Arkadelphia, AL

Mikey Cates Makes Suicide Round Trip Survives To Tell The Tale

Timothy Collins

Originally from Asheville, NC, Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com and/or (256) 615-8260.