Lindsey Doolittle is an elementary art teacher, author, speaker, mental health advocate, and a suicide prevention activist in Kansas City. On April 22nd, 2015 her husband, Sgt. Brett Doolittle of the Kansas City, Kansas police department, ended his life by suicide and her life changed forever. It became her goal to turn this devastating tragedy into something good, open, and honest.

My husband was my other half. When he died I felt that half of myself was amputated. Everyone continued their life and I was suffering in severe devastation. The emotional pain he ended was unknowingly passed onto me. I wanted to end my pain; that’s when I knew I needed help quickly.

She joined a support group called SASS (Suicide Awareness Survivor Support) who supports the ones left behind after a loved one’s suicide, educates the public on the stigmas of suicide, and also helps raise mental health awareness. Her young students, nieces, and nephews became the inspiration for her book. Lindsey feels that we can help break down the stigmas and start raising mental health awareness by starting an open and honest conversation with our youth.

We are not protecting our kids when we sweep suicide under the rug. We need to teach our children that it’s ok to speak up and ask questions about feelings they might not understand instead of keeping our emotions hidden. If we don’t talk about it then the stigma and cycle continues. I know I can’t end all is something that has been happening since before the Greek & Roman times. But maybe if we make suicide common terminology like the words ‘breast cancer” we can help lessen the numbers of deaths. Together we can stay above the rug!