Mary Alice Reporting – Six months following Robert Stephenson’s suicide, his son his speaking out with the hope of raising awareness on the importance of mental health communication.
Stephenson was the Assistant Prosecutor for Tuscarawas County, serving for almost 36 years, and passed away on October 10, 2022 at the age of 63.
John Stephenson says that growing up, he had a model dad and by all accounts, was living life as he increased his fitness routine and continued being active in the community.
The change happened, he explains, was when his dad purchased an anti-depressant from an online prescriber.
“Zoloft is a medication for depression; however, it can cause suicidal thoughts and ideations. That needs to be up front and center. [He] literally took it for seven days.”
With grandkids, vacations planned, and an ordered truck, Stephenson says this did not seem like the behavior of a man who would take his own life.
“Bob was not in control of his actions. This medication took over his mind and I think that night he wasn’t the one steering the ship. I’ve had people says I’ve taken an anti-depressant and suicide made sense to me when I was taking this medication.”
Stephenson posted on social media to tell his story with the hope to raise awareness about the black box medication but to also encourage people to communicate for their mental health.
“Stress can cause absolute havoc on your body. You don’t have to be going through something to seek help or to talk emotionally.”
Resources are available related to counseling and suicide prevention on the ADAMH’s Board website, www.adamhtc.org, or by calling the national suicide prevention hotline at 988 or 300-273-TALK.
Copyright WTUZ Radio Inc., 2023