My name is Madeleine Freeman. I began the Carroll Freeman Memorial Foundation to fund those struggling with mental health issues who are seeking treatment, but cannot afford it. I lost my father, Carroll Freeman, in February 2016. My dad struggled for many years with alcoholism and depression, and ultimately, was unable to overcome it. The week before he died, he called me from an inpatient treatment center from which he had been receiving care for only a week. While on the phone, I heard the nurses tell him that he had to leave at that moment, as his insurance would no longer cover his care at the facility. He was completely distressed as our phone call was cut short. A week later, my dad fell back into severe depression, began drinking, and committed suicide.
I tell this story to illustrate the incredible gap that lies within our mental health system. Thousands of Americans lose their lives every day in relation to addiction and mental illness, and many of them are unable to receive the treatment they need because they either do not have insurance, their insurance will not cover them for the care that they truly need, or they are stifled by the ever-present stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness.
My dad spent the majority of his life in service to others, spending his career working with children in special education. In establishing this Bridge Foundation Fund I hope to follow in his footsteps and hopefully change or save a life in his honor. The first step in beating mental illness and addiction is education, awareness, and the defeat of the stigma.