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Piedmont Macon's Suicide Prevention Symposium Set for Sept. 29

What: 6th Annual Suicide Awareness & Prevention Symposium

When: Sept. 29, 2022 from 9 a.m. until noon (Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.)

Where: Riverside United Methodist Church fellowship hall, 725 Pierce Ave., Macon

Register: Register by Sept. 26 at or the day of the event.

Cost: Free


Macon (Sept. 7, 2022) -- Suicide takes the life of someone every 11 minutes in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45,979 people died by suicide in this country in 2020, jumping from 29,350 suicides just 20 years earlier, according to the CDC. The numbers rose steadily over the past two decades, peaking in 2018 with 48,344 Americans taking their own lives.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and on Sept. 29, Piedmont Macon and Kindred Hospice are co-sponsoring the 6th Annual Suicide Awareness and Prevention Symposium to shine the spotlight on suicide and its warning signs, and to provide information about seeking help. The event aims to bring together representatives from the local school system, faith community, businesses, law enforcement agencies, mental health groups, community agencies and any Middle Georgia residents.

The keynote speaker is Cesar Figueroa, M.D., the medical director of Behavioral Health at Piedmont Macon. Also speaking are Kyle James, an addiction counselor at Piedmont Macon who lost her husband to suicide, and Maiesha Clark, who sought grief support after the loss of her daughter in an automobile accident.

“Our hearts, our brains, our souls are programmed to survive,” Dr. Figueroa said. “We just have to help someone to find that inner voice screaming for life, even when he or she is going through the darkest moments.”

Kyle James said she is grateful to Dr. Figueroa for teaching her that suicide is not necessarily about someone wanting to end their life but instead about trying to stop mental anguish and pain.

“As a survivor, it was so important for me to understand that and not stay quiet about it due to the shame…” she said. “I know now that my husband’s suicide was about pain he couldn’t stop, not about leaving us.”

Franchetta Trawick, a longtime grief counselor at Piedmont Macon who is coordinating the symposium, said the event is a way for Piedmont to connect with the community.

“The importance of the symposium is two-fold: Increasing the awareness about suicide can possibly prevent the loss of life, and we also want to let everyone know there are mental health support services available to help them,” she said.

The Sept. 29 symposium is free and open to the public. Registration is requested by Sept. 26, but attendees can also register when they arrive the day of the event.




About Piedmont Macon Behavioral Health

Since 1984, Piedmont Behavioral Health has provided inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services in the state of Georgia. Located in Macon and part of Piedmont Macon Medical Center, Piedmont Behavioral Health offers a full continuum of services for adults 18 years and older including psychiatric and substance abuse inpatient and partial hospitalization, a substance abuse intensive outpatient program, aftercare and various support groups. For more information about Piedmont’s behavioral health services, please call 800-548-4221.

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