Evan Johnson: Loss of a Parent by Suicide

Evan Jonson lost his father in 2010 to suicide. Dr. Heidi Horsley interviews him about his experience Johnson lives in Portland, Oregon and he struggled to find hope afterward. He was in complete disbelief at first, unable to fathom why his father killed himself. It came out of the blue for Johnson, and as that shock wore off he moved out of denial and into reality. That’s when anger arrived, and Johnson was angry at the situation rather than at his father. His dad destroyed his family, and it upset the life that everyone had planned.

When Dr. Horsley’s brother died in a car accident, she felt the same way. It’s normal for teens to be angry, but moving beyond that point is a challenge. Johnson began researching suicide and knew nothing about intentions behind suicide. He found that his father probably wasn’t in his right mind and likely was depressed with perhaps other mental disorders. It’s a true disorder that should have been medically treated.

The Hardest Death

Johnson realized that his father didn’t want to leave him and his family—but the problems he must have faced didn’t have an easy solution. Johnson has heard “it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” and believes his dad didn’t realize that. Death by suicide and clinical depression often go hand in hand. Educating others about suicide and warning signs can be highly effective.

It’s only been a few years since Johnson’s loss, and in many ways he’s still processing it. However, he found a supportive community and now speaks about his experience as a way to connect with others. There are many places your emotions can take you if you lose someone to suicide. Staying on a healing path is key.


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