When Love Isn’t Enough

Suicide’s Legacy: A father’s struggle – from the AJC
One year after losing his teen daughter to suicide, Richard Blackwell is learning to laugh
Sixteen-year-old Alex Blackwell died in September 2017, after a yearlong struggle with
social anxiety and depression, inflamed by back-to-back sports concussions and extensive
leg surgery. The Atlanta-journal-Constitution shared Alex’s story in a Personal Journey
earlier this year. Click HERE to read her story.
The rosy-cheeked girl with striking blue eyes was beloved for her wicked sense of humor
and spontaneity. Her sudden death, the result of an intentional overdose, left a dent in the
Blackwells’ close-knit Tucker community and at Greater Atlanta Christian School, where
Alex played soccer.
“She was the best adventure of my life,” said Seth Masters, Alex’s boyfriend.
It was two months after Alex’s death before Blackwell and his wife, Kim, spent a day
without tears; six months before there were more days without tears than with them.
Richard Blackwell and daughter Alex shared a close bond.
On the one-year anniversary of her death last month, neighbors placed luminaries around
the Blackwell’s home. The couple spent the stormy night eating sushi and drinking a
couple beers before going to bed. Blackwell said they awoke the next morning and felt “like
a type of burden had lifted up and off.
“Everybody seemed to think the year was the magic point,” Blackwell said. “And it’s true. It’s
amazing what a year will do and allow you to recover from. ”
Recognizing depression To help heal from Alex’s death and to help parents of other teens
suffering from depression, Blackwell focused his energy on depression awareness. He
began curating and circulating a detailed checklist for parents to identify signs of
depression and improve verbal communication with their children.
But as time passed, he grew concerned by the growing suicide rate. The number of
suicides among 15- to 19-year-old girls has doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a
40-year high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Blackwell decided to shift his attention from learning the signs of depression to educating
himself on treatments for depression.
He was fueled, in part, by his own downward spiral.
Read entire article HERE.
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