Dr. Jennifer Ashton shares personal story about loss: 'You are not alone'

ABC's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Ashton has written about her family's experience after her ex-husband took his own life.
4:14 | 05/06/19

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Transcript for Dr. Jennifer Ashton shares personal story about loss: 'You are not alone'
own family sharing a very personal story about suicide and about loss. Dr. Jen Ashton, our chief medical correspondent, and her two children suffering unexpected heartbreak. And their message tonight to other families in the country, you are not alone. At about 10:30 in the morning, three detectives knocked on the door and showed their badges and came in and asked me to sit down. And the lead detective said, "We found your name on the remains of your husband." And at the word "Remains," I collapsed onto the floor. And I just started screaming, "No, no, no." And I just -- I just couldn't believe it. Reporter: Dr. Jennifer Ashton and her husband, rob, also a doctor. They met while studying medicine at Columbia. They married the following year and had two beautiful children, Alex and Chloe. Both successful doctors. And both deeply devoted parents. To the ocean white with foam Reporter: There were the trips as a family. The skating lessons and the hockey games that would follow. That's Chloe, number 8, scoring a goal. Rob was the quintessential he would tie her skates before games. Reporter: Their children came first. And over the years, they would acknowledge, they needed to work on their marriage. They sought counseling. But still, after two decades of together, they had grown apart. And Jen, to this day, says any overt warning signs were not there. Rob didn't have any of the classic signs of depression that we learn about in medical school. Not a single one of them. Reporter: Rob would take his own life. His family crushed with the heartache that would follow. They sought therapy. And as a family, they have moved forward together, helping each other. Chloe on something her brother said to her. It wasn't until two weeks later that my brother actually said something that almost simplified the component of suicide. He said, "Dad died from a disease just like cancer. Just like somebody with cancer dies and they're not weaker for it, somebody who loses their battle with depression and dies by suicide is not weak. It's not their fault." Reporter: Dr. Ashton with help now from her growing children is now determined to help others, hoping to erase the stigma. We've learned a lot about life and how preous it is, and that you can grieve someone's death but still be happy at the same time. Dr. Jen Ashton is here with us tonight. So brave, Jen, and your children, so brave. What your son said to your daughter, please thank them, as well. I know it's been a really hard journey for you, not only as a family, to recover from this, but in deciding whether or not to go public. And I know just in our conversations, you decided that with that microphone, you had the power to help others, because so many families out there deal with this. Reporter: Well, my kids, David, actually helped me decide. They wanted me to talk about it. And we really learned that talking about it helped others, but it also helped us, and we've learned so much through this process about posttraumatic growth that follows or can follow a tragedy, and we've been lucky to have a lot of therapy and that will definitely continue. We want to let everyone at home now we're going to stay on this with Dr. Jen, because our veterans in this country, our young people in this country, we're seeing numbers and suicide rates that are really, really troubling. Reporter: Yeah. Thank you so much, David. We thank you, Jen. And Dr. Ashton's new book, "Life after suicide: Finding courage, comfort and community after unthinkable loss" is out tomorrow. And it's so important really to remind everyone at home that there is help out there. The suicide prevention leitchline on the bottom of your screen there, 1800-273-8255. There are also counselors onland to help. And we should mention the proceeds from Jen's book will go to suicide provengs organizations all over the country in rob's honor.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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