Cullman Suicide Rate Doubles Sheriff & Coroner Weigh-In

by | Nov 25, 2017 | City News, County News, Cullman, Cullman City, Get Smart, Good Hope, Hanceville, Interviews, Public Safety, Videos

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This the 2nd installment of a multiple part series on the topic of emotional and mental health wellness in Cullman County through Cullman Today.

Law Enforcement personnel and the Coroner’s Office are the first see and deal with suicides across the county.

In this interview, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry discusses his office’s role in cases of suicide, and in any instance of violence connected with mental imbalance.

Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick is the person with the unenviable task of collecting the deceased, conducting a death investigation, and then directly informing the immediate family of the victim of the death and its surrounding circumstances.

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, particularly for those so afflicted.

(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 is the last place our fellow citizens should end up when all else fails.

Ultimately, like the slowing 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 or the technical expertise. There will be no economic bailout, no magic pill, and as it looks at the moment, 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.

The brave Mikey Cates is the first door:

The Sheriff and Coroner are the second door.

Cullman County

Cullman Suicide Rate Doubles Sheriff & Coroner Weigh-In

Timothy Collins

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

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