3 Licking Valley graduates take own lives over 4 day period

Parents of man who died by suicide urge families to talk
3 Licking Valley graduates take own lives over 4 day period

A Licking County community is hit hard with grief after three former students all took their own lives over four days.

Recent Licking Valley High School graduates Tommy Wogan, Andy Clark and Steven Jervis all died by suicide this week.

Family and friends say the young men were acquaintances and their deaths are not connected.

Wogan’s family says he was an outgoing, caring and smart young man. But they knew he was struggling with depression. They urge others in distress to accept help.

“Those people reaching out, are reaching out because they care and you can trust them, it’s a safe place, you should accept that help,” said mother Kelly Wogan.

Nationwide Children’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator John Ackerman wants people to know it’s okay to talk about suicide and that it shouldn’t be a shameful or hidden subject.

“We want people to be open to discussing how difficult it was to deal with this,” said Ackerman. “We want to give them some places and some resources to make sure they can have that difficult conversation.”

The school district has reached out to local families, offering resources and support.

“It’s affecting everybody, the adults and the students in the school and lots of them are wanting to talk about it,” said Licking Valley Superintendent David Hile.

There is a candlelight vigil planned for Sunday night at 8 p.m. at the Licking Valley High School Auditorium.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.



Be aware of possible warning signs of suicide:

  • Talking about suicide, death, dying, or the afterlife.
  • Feeling sad, bored, hopeless, or depressed.
  • Making verbal threats such as, “You’d be better off without me,” “I won’t be a problem for you much longer,” or “Maybe I won’t be around.”
  • Change in personality, such as becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression.
  • Showing little interest in the future.
  • Making major changes in the looks or not taking care of him/herself (if usually neat, might look sloppy).
  • Acting in rash, hostile ways; often expressing rage.
  • Giving or throwing away favorite belongings.

*Information courtesy of Mental Health America of Licking County

The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention: http://www.yellowribbon.org/