WICOMICO CO., Md. - Leah Klump's life has been a whirlwind of emotions since the death of her brother Jesse.
"You never really have an answer to why it happened," said Klump. "We like to describe our life now as a new normal."
Saturday will mark five years to the day that the 17-year-old teen took his own life.
"I went through severe depression," said Klump. "I personally took medicine to help with that because it was just overwhelming."
Klump and her family are not alone in their grief.
In 2012, the most recent data released, 557 Marylanders died from suicides. Worcester County, where Klump lives, has the third highest rate per capita in the state. Wicomico County's rate is above the state average as well.
Sgt. David Owens says the issue is apparent.
"We offer support to the surviving victims," said Owens. "We try to answer the questions that we can answer."
Once the death is ruled a suicide, Owens says families often find their own way, usually with help from support group. For Klump that came through friends like Ron Pilling and talking with other families that deal with a similar loss.
"I really admire the strength and the resilience of Kim Klump [Jesse's mom], Leah and Jesse's dad have shown in spite of this," said Pilling.
In the five years since Jesse's death, the Klumps launched an effort looking to end the threat of suicide in Worcester County through outreach and education, including a scholarship awarded
to help exemplary scholars at Snow Hill high pursue higher education.
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