Laurie Freeman has dedicated her life to advocating for mental health after the loss of her husband and son to suicide and her daughter to an overdose. She’s featured in a new documentary titled American Tragedy – Love is Not Enough.
“In 2010 I lost my 19 year old son to suicide followed 7 months later by my husband taking his life. 5 years later my daughter overdosed on prescription drugs, so I got very involved with mental health, with suicide prevention, helped found the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Colorado Chapter, served on with it from 2011 until 2016 when I decided I needed to step away and do some self care for myself. I’m a very big proponent that we need to talk about mental health and we need to start not being reactive but being proactive, starting at basically when they’re infants dealing with mental health, making them strong and resilient and being able to have them be able to feel comfortable talking about their feelings and emotions, and teaching parents and educators and children what are the ways to deal with you emotions and to make you calm and be able to let you move through situations or crises that you are enduring.”
Suicide is currently one of the largest causes of death for young people. It remains a taboo subject mired in stigma. While this is slowly changing Freeman believes an important part of preventing suicide is openly talking about it everywhere it can be talked about.
“When someone dies by suicide that’s very close to you, the likelihood that the people that were closest to that person will either think about, plan, or try to attempt a suicide. We need to be able to say “how are you feeling?” If you bring it out into the open and say “are you thinking of killing yourself?”, that usually opens up a window for that person to feel safe, to say “yes, I’m struggling, I’m having a hard time with this.” and that way you can intervene and get them the help that they need.”
A pre-screening of American Tragedy – Love is Not Enough happens Thursday evening at CU South Denver IMAX Theater, 10035 S Peoria St., Parker, CO 80134. It will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Laurie Freeman. The documentary features Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine shooters who herself has become an advocate for mental health and wellness. The screening is part of this week’s commemorations for the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.