Loved ones say actor killed himself after losing all in flood, showing need for mental-health services for region’s homeless

Tony Calhoun (Showhouse Productions)

A Kentucky actor and screenwriter killed himself after losing everything he owned in last month’s flash floods, his fiancée said, and “His friends and family hope the incident emphasizes the need for mental health services as part of Eastern Kentucky’s recovery,” reports Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Tony Calhoun, 39, “killed himself Monday morning, said Calhoun’s fiancée, Edith Heather Lisk. . . . Gov. Andy Beshear is counting Calhoun as the 39th death in the state flood toll. Calhoun’s parents, Betty and Lowell Thomas Calhoun, said that if even one person could be helped by talking about Calhoun’s death, it will be worth them telling his story.”

Calhoun’s mother said he lost first-edition comic books and “memorabilia that he had collected since he was 5 years old, but he was proud that he had not broken down in tears,” the Herald-Leader reports. “What happened on Monday, she said, ‘was his way of breaking down’.”

Mental-health professionals are needed to tell hundreds of people made homeless by the flooding “that they don’t need to give up on life, that they can start over,” Betty Calhoun said. Breathitt County Coroner Hargis Epperson said Calhoun’s death is being investigated as a suicide.

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