Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

I am a Denver psychotherapist, consultant, researcher, and professor. Both my clinical practice and research have focused on suicide prevention. I am currently in private practice in Denver as a psychotherapist and consultant, and I am a social work professor at the University of Denver.

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Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet

Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet

  What will people think of you? What will people say about you? A couple people asked me these questions when I told them I was publishing an essay in the New York Times (“A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past”) about a very dark time in my life when I made a suicide attempt. I can’t really […]

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Can “13 Reasons Why” Really Trigger Suicides?

Can “13 Reasons Why” Really Trigger Suicides?

I don’t really want to read one more thing about 13 Reasons Why, let alone add to the mix. But I think it’s necessary. Many articles and essays I read about the show are based on emotion, without acknowledging the very well-researched phenomenon of suicide contagion. The more that people understand the facts about this […]

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When a Suicide Prevention Hero Dies by Suicide

When a Suicide Prevention Hero Dies by Suicide

Untold thousands, maybe even millions, of people embraced Amy Bleuel’s symbol of passionate resistance against suicide: a simple semicolon. Tattoos, jewelry, and art feature the period floating above a comma, not for punctuation, but for an expression of hope.  That delicate punctuation mark, Amy would tell people, meant that the writer still had more to say. […]

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“When Hope is Gone Just Hang On”: More Songs Against Suicide

“When Hope is Gone Just Hang On”: More Songs Against Suicide

“Sad songs,” the line goes, “say so much.” And there are thousands of them. Many sad songs intensify a melancholy mood; some even extol suicide as a solution. Fewer and farther between are the songs that, while acknowledging the intense pain that fuels suicide, offer hope, encouragement, or inspiration to stay alive. In an earlier […]

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If You Are Suicidal, Envision Your Future Selves

If You Are Suicidal, Envision Your Future Selves

Suicide lies. It tells you that the way you feel now is the way you will feel forever. Hope itself can seem like a toxic lie, a set-up for disappointment. The present feels permanent, and the future feels foretold. Don’t fall for the lies. “The future,” as they say, “is unwritten.” Things can change. Things […]

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Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Written by on October 28, 2015 in All Posts, Friends and Family with 29 Comments

People who die in tornadoes are so selfish. They have people who love them, people who will be hurt terribly if they die. Yet they die anyway. People who die in tornadoes are thinking only of themselves. They take the easy way out when they refuse to overcome the storm. They don’t care that their […]

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“Let’s Get Physical”: 7 Tips to Calm Anxiety

“Let’s Get Physical”: 7 Tips to Calm Anxiety

Anxiety is fear. It is a message from our brain that something is wrong and we are in danger. Often, the danger is not truly present, at least not to the degree that our mind is telling us it is. But the body does not know this. The body reacts as if the danger is […]

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Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

No objective test exists for suicidal thoughts – no X-ray to detect broken hope, no CAT scan to reveal intolerable emotional pain, no blood test to expose toxic intentions. This reality is disappointing, even devastating. People understandably want professionals to predict and prevent suicide. For example, in the aftermath of the pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally […]

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10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

  “I want to kill myself.”  Those five words are a shock to hear, a dreadful pronouncement from a friend or family member you do not want to lose. You recoil at the thought. How could they want to die? As unwelcome as those words are to your ears, your loved one has handed you […]

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Transgender People and Suicide: The Tragedy, and the Hope

Transgender People and Suicide: The Tragedy, and the Hope

Written by on January 2, 2015 in All Posts, LGBT topics, Misc with 11 Comments

  Transgender youth and adults have far higher rates of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than the average person. Consider these research findings: The suicide rate among transgender adults in an international study was almost 800 per 100,000. In comparison, the suicide rate in the U.S. for all people is 13 per 100,000. (That study is […]

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