Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is opening up about the death of his wife Bridgette in hopes of saving the lives of other people struggling with addiction or other mental illnesses.
At press conference Wednesday afternoon, Marshall said Bridgette died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after suffering from mental illness for years. Marshall said he did not want to address the public, but was forced to after a media outlet put out a story detailing how his wife died and where.
“It is our hope today to share her story. To also give hope and strength to those families who have endured what we have endured. And maybe for that person who felt like Bridgette did on that Sunday morning, to know that there is hope, and that there are people who love them.” said Marshall.
Marshall says Bridgette suffered from mental illness since a young age. He says she suffered from severe migraines since childhood. Marshall says she tried to seek treatment for the migraines for years and was eventually prescribed opioids.
Marshall says she became dependent on the drugs up until her death.
“She continued through her life to talk about death, in a way that concerns us all. Yet we continued to pray she’d get the help she needed.” said Marshall.
Marshall says Bridgette had moved out of the state to an apartment in Tennessee leading up to her death. Marshall says she felt she was being followed and felt the media would find out about her time spent in a mental treatment facility, and publicize it. On Sunday Marshall had his last conversation with her on the phone.
“As a guy who professionally is supposed to be able to convince people with words to do something. I couldn’t reach her. And she said I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being tired, and I just want to go.” said Marshall.
Marshall wants Bridgette’s life to help someone else who may be struggling with mental illness.
Abby Litvosky is the program director at the Crisis Center. She says it’s important families know there are resources out to help them with their loved ones struggles and they don’t have to take it on alone.
“It never has to be just on you to handle this. So remember be supportive, be a listening ear, but also know that there are people who are trained to handle these sort of situations and we can help and we want to help.” said Litvosky
She says also says there’s a correlation between addiction and suicide.
“There is a strong relationship with substance abuse and suicide. It’s one of the key risk factors and key warning signs that someone might be struggling.” said Litvosky.
Litvosky says there’s a need to change the perception of mental illness, “We need to erase the stigma about reaching out for help. Just like with any illness, if you are sick you go see a doctor. Same with mental illness that there’s no shame in saying I need help.”
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of harming themselves you can call the hotline at 205-323-7777.
CBS 42 also spoke to Jeremy Fladstol with The Foundry. The organization helps people overcome drug addiction. Fladstol says he also became addicted to opioids after being prescribed the medication to treat migraines.
“It’s not something that we want to do, or we set out to do. It’s something that is trained into our brain to when we’re dealing with things we just can’t quite handle, that’s the answer because it numbs it.” said Fladstol.
Fladstol says volunteering and his faith helped redirect his attention to positive activities and helps him overcome addiction. He graduates from The Foundry’s program in August. For more information about addiction and how The Foundry can help, click here