Season 2: Episode 2

Hope and Will: A Parenting Podcast from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Changing the Narrative on Suicide: The Parker Family’s Story

In January 2022, Erin Harlow-Parker and her family were thrust into media headlines when her husband, Jeff Parker, died by suicide. Jeff was the CEO of MARTA, a well-respected businessman, father, partner and friend. He had been married to Erin for more than 30 years.

Erin—an advanced practice registered nurse specializing in pediatric mental health and beloved member of the Children’s Strong4Life team—shares her family's story as part of her and her daughters’ crusade to talk openly about mental health, mental illness and suicide.

The Parkers hope listeners will leave the episode:

  • Understanding that suicide can and does happen to any family.
  • Encouraged to stop seeing feelings of sadness, anger and anxiety as a sign of weakness.
  • Empowered to talk openly about both mental health and mental illness because the only way to reduce the stigma related to mental illness is for us to talk about it and not see it as someone’s fault.

Originally Aired: August 30, 2023

Erin Harlow-Parker, Jeff Parker’s Widow and Children’s Strong4Life Mental Health Expert

In January 2022, Erin suffered a devastating loss when her husband—a well-respected CEO, travel enthusiast and incredible father to their two daughters—died by suicide.

Erin has worked in child and adolescent psychiatry for more than 30 years. Suicide prevention has been an area of her expertise for more than a decade, which she says makes sharing Jeff’s story even more important. 

Lynn Smith

Lynn Smith is a veteran journalist, podcast host and mom of two boys. Her experience as the parent of a patient at Children’s inspired her to advocate for spreading awareness of childhood illnesses and injuries.