Why Dr. Jennifer Ashton Blamed Herself After Her Ex-Husband's Suicide
Dr. Robert Ashton jumped off New York's George Washington Bridge just 18 days after the couple's divorce was finalized, and a note in his pocket read "call my wife."
ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton is used to helping others, but now she's using a painful time in her own life to do it.
In 2017, her ex-husband took his own life. Thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Ashton jumped off New York's George Washington Bridge just 18 days after their divorce was finalized. A note left in his pocket read, "Call my wife."
“This is 2019, it shouldn't be something that we whisper about, or that we feel that we have a scarlet letter on our chest. A lot of people are suffering,” Jennifer told Inside Edition.
She says she didn't see any warning signs when it came to Robert.
“Rob had never been diagnosed with depression, never had any of the classic signs of severe depression that we learn about in medical school,” she said.
Over their 20-year marriage, the couple had two children. And when it came to the kids, Jennifer said she blamed herself for how they experienced their father's suicide.
“I blamed myself for not seeing potential signs, even though there were none, and I blamed myself for what I perceived a failure to protect my children from pain, that they had to live through this, was something I felt, and still do feel, incredible blame and pain and sadness for them,” she said.
She hopes the book will help other families in need.
“We aren't angry with someone who loses their battle with cancer. We shouldn't be angry with someone who loses their battle with mental illness,” she said. “I hope when people read the book that they come away with some knowledge and comfort that healing is possible."
She also started a podcast called "Life After Suicide.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. Or chat online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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