Woman shares story of husband’s suicide in hopes of helping others

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Last year, a Kansas City, Kansas woman lost her husband to suicide. The city lost a public servant, a veteran police officer. Lindsey Doolittle is sharing the story publicly for the first time in hopes it will save other lives.

"Uncontrollable crying, eating, different eating habits, different sleeping habits," said Doolittle, reading a list she prepared.

"Pushing you away emotionally and isolating themselves."

Those were some of the changes she saw in her husband, Brett, over a year's time.

"Being irritable, reading material or watching material that pertained to death," she said.

She didn't know they were signs Brett was going to kill himself.

"Reckless behavior, increased drinking."

He died last year, just before his 35th birthday. He had attempted suicide several months before. Doolittle said she told only a few people close to her.

"I thought he would lose his job. I thought he would be upset with me if I said anything," she said.

Her husband was a sergeant in the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department. Police officers are at one and a half times greater risk of suicide than the general population.

"He was so private and when he came home, Brett left work at work," Doolittle said.

Yet she thinks no matter what her husband had done for a living, he would have taken his own life because he had an illness, depression, that had gone untreated.

"Maybe if we start having a conversation and being more open that maybe people would be more likely to get help."

So she is talking about depression and warning signs of suicide.

"Tying up loose ends," she read from the list.

She's learned a lot in community meetings held by SASS, Suicide Awareness Survivor Support.

"Even though Brett's life had ended, mine did not have to. They educated me that I am not to blame and I should not be ashamed," she said.

On Sunday, she'll be in the annual Remembrance Walk held by SASS. She'll honor Brett and find hope in others who care.

The walk will be held at Loose Park, 51st and Wornall Road, in Kansas City, Missouri. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk will start at 9 a.m. For more details and to register, visit the website.