Annual Suicide Prevention Conference Taking Place at UTHSC

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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center will host the Memphis Healing Center’s 8th annual Suicide and the Black Church Conference on June 14 from 1-4 p.m., and June 15 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Student-Alumni Center located at 800 Madison Avenue.

“I Survived and So Can You” is this year’s theme and will focus on the suicide epidemic among youth. The event is free of charge for children under 18. Chamique Holdsclaw, former Lady Vols, Olympic Gold Medalist, and 1999 WNBA Rookie of the Year will serve as the keynote speaker on June 15 at noon.

Chamique Holdsclaw, former Lady Vols, Olympic Gold Medalist, and 1999 WNBA Rookie of the Year, will be this year’s keynote speaker. (Photo Courtesy of the Memphis Healing Center)

In her autobiography, Holdsclaw, shares her personal story on battling depression and surviving a suicide attempt that landed her in the hospital. During the conference, she will share her survival story.

The conference will also have interactive workshops and sessions. UTHSC will be represented by several faculty guest speakers including Altha Stewart, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, director of the UTHSC Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, Allen Battle, MD, professor emeritus in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and Mari Shelton, LCSW, assistant director for the UTHSC Center for Health In Justice Involved Youth.

The UTHSC Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, a federally funded initiative that’s addressing the prevention of violence and trauma exposure to children, will present workshops on adverse childhood experiences and trauma and is sponsoring a workshop for interested attendees to learn about becoming Family Support Specialists (FSS) in Shelby County. FSS is a state and Medicaid approved work category in the mental health system that allows parents and caregivers to receive training and certification. Once certified, individuals can be hired by mental health agencies and other organizations and their services are Medicaid reimbursable.

“The UTHSC Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth is pleased to support the 8th Annual Suicide and the Black Church conference and looks forward to continuing its strong partnership with the Healing Center and the expanding array of faith-based mental health services being offered to residents of Shelby County,” Dr. Stewart said. “The impact they are having on this community related to mental illness, suicide and family engagement is important to the work to reduce stigma of mental illness and improve the services and supports being offered.”

For more information and to register visit http://www.memphishealingcenter.com/.