Survivors, advocates set to come together for suicide prevention awareness event

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The month of September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Here locally, survivors and advocates are set to come together with Knox County leaders Tuesday morning, during an event planned at Concord United Methodist Church to address the issue that impacts so many people.

One Knoxville woman has a personal connection to suicide. She said it’s her chance to publicly spread the word about how important suicide prevention is. She lost her husband around this time four years ago, and has become an advocate in the years since.

“To increase the knowledge in our community. For our community to rally behind people, and know that they’re supported, know that they’re cared for, know that they’re loved, and most importantly know that they are not alone,” said Emily Hager. Those are her goals for Tuesday at a suicide prevention awareness event happening in the morning.

She’s the emcee and has a personal connection to the subject. Her previous husband took his own life.

“You’d never think that someone is going to take that extreme action, and that was the case for me. I never would have thought that he would take an action like that,” Hager said.

Ed Junod also knows the topic well. He teaches suicide prevention classes, encouraging people to ask friends or loved ones if they’re feeling suicidal, and to be on the lookout for some key signs.

“Loss of relationships, financial, being a burden, feeling guilty about things,” Junod said.

Hager is now using her story to spread a message of hope. She’s re-married and has a family.

“What I like to tell people with my story now is that there is hope and there is life after the loss of a loved one there is life,” Hager said.

She’s also looking forward to Tuesday’s suicide prevention awareness event, particularly standing alongside Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs as he announces a suicide prevention proclamation.

The event is taking place at Concord United Methodist Church at 10 a.m.

Always an important resource to pass along: the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. That number is 1-800-273-8255.

If you or anyone else you know needs help you can also call the Helen Ross Mcnabb Center locally at 865-539-2409.

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