• Speaker shares story at suicide prevention training

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  • Elizabeth Everette | Suicide Prevention Manager, Army Substance Abuse Program
    Lindsey Doolittle, the spouse of a Kansas City, Kan., police officer who ended his life by suicide, was the guest speaker at the monthly suicide prevention and awareness training on June 6 in the Post Theater. She will speak again at the Sept. 5 training.
    This training is facilitated by the Army Substance Abuse Program and is open to soldiers and civilians living and working here at Fort Leavenworth. This monthly awareness training was meant to bring awareness and understanding to the impact of someone ending his or her life by suicide on the ones left behind. Lindsay told me that her self-disclosure and sharing is part of her healing process.
    Lindsey reached out to ASAP wanting to speak to soldiers, family members and civilian employees about suicide. She said she wanted to share her story with the Fort Leavenworth community in hopes to spread the word and make a positive impact within the community.
    Several people approached me at the end of the class thanking me for having her as a guest speaker. Suicide is a very difficult topic to discuss but Lindsey did an amazing job in sharing her story. She discussed some of the warning signs of suicide along with her personal story of being a suicide survivor. She was able to tell her story in a way that so many could understand. It was an honor for ASAP to have Lindsey visit and share her difficult journey.
    “Lindsey Doolittle’s story is both heartbreaking and inspirational. As she describes the events leading up to her husband’s suicide, she exposes the troubles present in her marriage while revealing her own struggles with the stigma of marital discord and personal vulnerabilities,” wrote Brian K. Paxton, program support analyst. “Although she knew there were problems that needed to be addressed, she felt ashamed to reach out for help and powerless to overcome them. As she reflects back on how events unfolded, she is keen to highlight the missed indicators that pointed to her husband’s decision to commit suicide and the personal struggles she faced as she tried to find ways to support her hurting husband. She also shares the more devastating struggles (guilt, loneliness, and isolation) she faced after her husband’s death.
    “She skillfully ties up all these pieces with her plan to bring closure and healing to herself and others through the suicide awareness survivor support groups found in the Kansas and Missouri areas,” he continued. “As part of her healing process, she has also written a children’s book on supporting children who are suicide survivors called ‘Goodnight Mr. Vincent van Gogh.’ I highly encourage anyone with an interest to listen to her emotion filled story, because it will change your life.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “Losing a loved one to suicide is one thing that I cannot ever imagine going through,” said Staff Sgt. Leonardo Tocaven, operations NCO for the Directorate of Emergency Services. “Walking into your home and finding a spouse, child or any family member who took their life is nothing anyone should go through. Lindsey lived that tragedy and carries it in her memory every day. She is an incredibly strong woman who suffered through hell and back.
    “Suicide is a topic that lays on the backburner of discussion because of the pain it brings. No one ever wants to talk about it because it makes people uneasy and overall it is a depressing topic,” Tocaven said. “The fact that Lindsey had the courage and willpower to talk about her late husband is extremely important for everyone to hear. This can possibly aid someone into identifying the signs or cries for help if they know someone in need. Life is precious and losing a life to suicide is one too many.”
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