This month’s guest blog is from Amy Dolinky with Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Recovery Month are approaching in September, and I would like to brings the light the connection between these two topics. Individuals with substance use disorders are ten times more likely to die by suicide than their peers who do not face the same disease. As more attention is brought to use of opioids and other substances in our community, sometimes the suicide risk component is not known and even more rarely discussed.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, in partnership with the East Tennessee Council on Children and Youth, Cornerstone of Recovery, and Village Behavioral Health, will be hosting a conference to address just this. The conference titled, “Hope for Tomorrow: The Intersection of Suicide and Addiction” will take place on Friday, September 21 at Bridgewater Place in Knoxville from 9:00 AM- 4: 30 PM, with registration starting at 8:00 AM.

“Hope for Tomorrow: The Intersection of Suicide and Addiction” will have a variety of breakout sessions and keynote speaker Stephen Kavalkovich. Stephen Kavalkovich is the host of Rescue the Rescuer and CEO of Rescue Consulting, served as a paramedic for most of his adult life in Jersey. His most memorable work was at the World Trade Center on 9-11-01. Kavalkovich will share his story of addiction and recovery and seeks to open up the conversation about addressing the underlying pain, trauma, and lack of coping skills that makes one decide to self-medicate. Breakout sessions will take a deeper look into trauma, addiction, treatment, poverty, homelessness, grief, accessing services, self-care, safety planning, tools for school staff. To leave with a clearer understanding, confidence in your ability to help, and hope for tomorrow is the goal of this conference.

The event is free to the community and seating will be limited to two hundred guests. Registration for the event will open in August, to be notified of the opening of registration please contact Amy Dolinky, East Tennessee Regional Director with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at