StoryCorps Northwest: She Became A Counselor After Two Sons Died By Suicide

Ali Bretthauer and her mother, Catherine Perusse
Ali Bretthauer and her mother, Catherine Perusse, talk about how the suicides in their family shaped them.


NOTE: This episode of StoryCorps Northwest addresses suicide and its impact on one family. If you or someone you know is dealing with  suicidal thoughts or other mental health crisis, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or chat online live with a counselor at

In 2018, Idaho had the fifth-highest number of suicides in the country. Catherine Perusse is a counselor in Sandpoint, Idaho, who knows first-hand about the devastation of suicide: Two of her sons died of self-inflected death six years apart. In today’s StoryCorps Northwest, Catherine and her daughter, Ali Bretthauer of Moscow, Idaho, share how the deaths changed their lives.

A poem written by Ali Bretthauer after her brother's suicide.

Poem by Ali Bretthauer written when she was twelve and read at her brother’s funeral.

This segment originally aired on NWPB’s Morning Edition on Dec. 2, 2020. It was recorded as part of NWPB’s 2020 partnership with StoryCorps. Learn more about the national StoryCorps initiative here.

Related Stories: