Alison Carroll on the impact of suicide

Alison Carroll, a freshman human nutrition and foods major from Cincinnati, Ohio, reflects on her time with her father, after losing him to suicide. 


HC: Describe your relationship with your father growing up.

AC: Growing up, I was always really close with my dad. He was someone that I could always go to and talk to whenever, and he was also my biggest supporter. He always went out of his way to do whatever he could for me and loved my brother and I more than anything.


HC: How and when did you lose your father?

AC: My dad passed away in September of 2016 from suicide by overdosing.


HC: How have you coped with the loss of your father?

AC: I have had a lot of support from friends and family and have made advocating for mental illness a goal of mine, which has made my grieving process a lot easier because I know that I am helping save others’ lives.


HC: Do you have any advice for readers in a similar situation?

AC: For anyone going through anything similar, I know that it’s very cliche, but you’re not alone. If you’re fighting a mental illness yourself, please know that there are people out there that love and need you more than you realize. Words can't describe the pain that I felt losing my dad to something so bad. Losing someone you love is never fun, but knowing that you lost them because they couldn’t fight for another day is even worse. If someone you love is struggling, please just be there for them in any way you can. No matter what happens, know that nothing will ever be your fault. The best thing that you can do is be there for them through every step of the way and make sure that they have all of the love and support in the world.


HC: How has your father’s passing turned you into an advocate for mental health awareness?

AC: I became extremely involved in high school with spreading the word of mental illnesses and promoting the stopping of the stigma against them through clubs, activities and even a mental health week. I also became involved in the Youth Council for Suicide Prevention committee at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which conducted research on mental health and worked to decrease the numbers of suicides in young adults. Along with this, I worked with the organization 1N5 to create a video for others to know that they’re not alone through their journey.


HC: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers?

AC: No matter what you’re going through, no solution is worse than death. It’s such a permanent solution for a problem that can be temporary. You are surrounded by unconditional love, and you can overcome anything big or small.