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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“Woefully Inadequate”: Suicide Prevention Training in Graduate Schools

“Woefully Inadequate”: Suicide Prevention Training in Graduate Schools

With the exception of psychiatrists, most mental health professionals have received very little, if any, training in graduate school on suicide-related topics: “Competence in the assessment of suicidality is an essential clinical skill that has consistently been overlooked and dismissed by the colleges, universities, clinical training sites, and licensing bodies that prepare mental health professionals.” […]

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Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

  Across the Internet and elsewhere, people apply the term suicide survivor to two different groups of people: 1) people who struggled with suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, and survived, and 2) people who were never suicidal at all, but who lost a loved one to suicide.  In a post last year, I defined a suicide […]

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“Mightier than the Sword”: Healing from a Spiteful Suicide Note

“Mightier than the Sword”: Healing from a Spiteful Suicide Note

“Mum, I could write to you for days, but I know nothing would actually make a difference to you,” the note begins. “You are much too ignorant and self concerned to even attempt to listen or understand, everyone knows that.” More hateful words follow, culminating with, “You are a waste of space, ignorant, and a […]

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Coping Statements for Suicidal Thoughts

Coping Statements for Suicidal Thoughts

  Many people desperately wish to stop their suicidal thoughts. Often, this is possible. You might be able to eliminate suicidal thoughts by healing the depression, stress, hopelessness, self-hatred or whatever forces underlie them. Yet it might take a while to stop thinking of suicide. For some people, suicidal thoughts just do not stop, or they keep revisiting […]

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“If Only”: Self-Blame After a Loved One’s Suicide

“If Only”: Self-Blame After a Loved One’s Suicide

“I should have _________.” “If only I _____________.” “Why didn’t I ____________?” Different people may fill in the blanks with different words, but the sentiments are the same: I am to blame. I should have been able to stop my loved one from dying. Feelings of self-blame affect many people who have lost a loved […]

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Letter from a Therapist to a Suicidal Person

Letter from a Therapist to a Suicidal Person

When you come to me for help, I want to help you. I hope you will let me. I cannot know your secrets without your words. I hope you will tell me. Tell me, please, your thoughts of suicide. You might feel scared to tell me When I ask you if you are thinking of suicide. I […]

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Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note

Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note

Suicide causes so much devastation in the living – so many overwhelming feelings, so many should-have-done’s and could-have-been’s, so many questions. Amid such heartbreak, many survivors also agonize about why their loved one did not leave a suicide note. Melinda McDonald, a blogger who lost her husband to suicide, wrote about this agony in a […]

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What is a Suicide Gesture?

What is a Suicide Gesture?

Many clinicians and researchers advocate for abandoning the term “suicide gesture,” but its use still persists. Over the last few years, several definitions have been reported: “…A suicide gesture is like a one person play in which the actor creates a dramatic effect, not by killing or even attempting to kill himself, but by feigning […]

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Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

A 61-year-old man, E.H., survived suicide attempts, received care for depression in psychiatric hospitals, and battled alcoholism for many years. His father died by suicide. E.H. was convinced that one day he, too, would kill himself, and he did. Was his suicide inevitable? Ernest Hemingway, the famous author and the man described above, died by suicide […]

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Like Clouds Before the Sun: Mindfulness and Suicidal Thoughts

Like Clouds Before the Sun: Mindfulness and Suicidal Thoughts

Too often, people who think of suicide regard their thoughts as truth. They believe them. In a twist on the famous saying “I think, therefore I am,” suicide’s lie is, “I think I should kill myself, therefore I should kill myself.” It doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn to observe your suicidal […]

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