Lucy's story: A family fights for suicide awareness

Suicide in the country has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years. The rise is particularly steep for women, but overall affecting virtually every age group and gender.

Through the eyes of a local mother and sister dealing with suicide first-hand, we’re able to take a closer look at this growing problem.

Marcy Kluczik often reflects on her daughter, Lucy Gradolph, who was a bright 24-year-old who she said was filled with life.

“I really think I had guided my children and taught them enough and loved them enough that I didn’t think anything bad would happen like that,” said Marcy.

Lucy was a young, beautiful woman from Birmingham who graduated from Michigan State University. She was looking forward to a job in public relations, but in the meantime, picked up side jobs as a model.

“She had that very Robin Williams type attitude, smiling” said Marcy.

Although Lucy’s smile was bright, there was something very wrong.

During a trip with friends to Mexico, Lucy was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. After the attack, Lucy went public with her story about what happened in an attempt to warn other women about what can happen while on vacation in foreign lands.

Marcy thought her daughter had moved on from the attack. Lucy took medications for depression, but Marcy said she seemed to be seemed to be in control otherwise.

That was until last February, when Marcy said Lucy took her own life with a gun she had purchased only an hour before.

“She told me that one day she would commit suicide,” Marcy said.  “I really didn’t believe she would do go through and actually do it.”

Lucy’s family recently showed up to Kensington for a walk to raise awareness about suicide.

"I'm walking here because I never want anybody to feel this pain again,” Marcy said.

Experts say some individuals don’t know how to cope with stress, and that the stress and anxiety felt by those individuals could escalate.

  “We are self-valuing our selves daily  - how many likes did I get? How many re-tweets? How many Snapchats were sent?” said clinical psychologist, Dr. Donna Rockwell. 

Lucy’s mother says she wishes she had paid better attention to the signs, and begs other parents to pay closer attention to their children.

“It has just changed all of us,” she said.

Rockwell says some warning signs may be a change in friends, activities, diet, isolating themselves and not getting joy out of things that used to bring them joy adding that if anyone ever talks about suicide, to take it seriously.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline has operators available 24 hours a day. You can reach them by calling 1-800-273-8255.

For more information on suicide prevention, click on the links below.