Parkwest & Peninsula to host event for survivors of suicide loss

Jay FitzOur Town Health

Parkwest Medical Center and Peninsula Behavioral Health will host an observance Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. until noon at Parkwest. The event both celebrates the lives of loved ones and offers support for those grieving suicide loss. Featured are:

  • Emily Hager, PhD, East Regional Director, Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, survivor of suicide loss
  • Paul Augustyniak, Tennessee Board Chair, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, survivor of suicide loss
  • Hailey Goad, MSSW, operations manager, Contact Care Line, survivor of suicide loss
  • Rachel Johnson, PsyD, clinical psychologist and William Conklin, PsyD, lead clinical psychologist, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC
  • Creative activity to honor loved ones we’ve lost
  • 2023 AFSP Survivors of Suicide Loss Day video

Suicide affects millions of people worldwide. In the United States in 2020, there were nearly 46,000 suicides, equating to one death every 11 minutes. Additionally, 12. 2 million people seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a suicide plan and 1.2 million attempted suicide.

In addition to the person committing suicide, family and friends are also affected and left wondering what they could have done differently to support the individual. Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, created by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in 1999, is recognized annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Who Should Attend?

This celebration is intended for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. Register today! Visit to register on-line, or call us at 865-374-PARK (7275).

Five Years of Honoring Those We’ve Lost

The 2023 Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event marks the fifth annual event in Knoxville, hosted by Parkwest and Peninsula. Each year the event features survivors of suicide loss telling their personal stories, allowing others to better understand what they’ve experienced, and how they have processed, or are still processing, their grief. Journeys of grief are individual, and healing doesn’t happen on the same timeline for everyone.

The event connects survivors of suicide loss in all stages of their personal journeys. After this event first launched in 2019, Covid-19 occurred, and the event was presented virtually for two years. Those videos can be viewed online by visiting Knox/playlists. The playlists are labeled “PWMC: Survivors of Suicide Loss 2021” and “PWMC Survivors of Suicide Loss.”

Peninsula ComPASS Support Group

The aftermath of losing someone to suicide is a grief-filled time that looks different for everyone. Peninsula, a division of Parkwest Medical Center, offers a free support group to help those who are grieving work through the pain.

ComPASS, or Communicating the Pain as Suicide Survivors, provides a safe place where members gain understanding and education while grieving the loss of a loved one.

“Suicide is a topic that many people are uncomfortable discussing and they would prefer to avoid talking about it,” says Mark Potts, director of clinical services for Peninsula. “Survivors are likely to be experiencing intense emotions which can also be uncomfortable for them and the people around them. Having a place where there is an understanding that it’s OK to say whatever they are feeling can help relieve the sense of isolation and alienation that many survivors experience.”

Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide is encouraged to attend. You will be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through. ComPASS currently holds in-person meetings on the second Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m. at Peninsula Lighthouse, 1451 Dowell Springs Blvd., Knoxville. Group meetings are held on the lower level of the building and are open to the public. A Zoom link is available for those wanting to join from another location. To learn more or to join the group meetings, visit or call 865-374-7106.

Covenant Health provided information and quotes for this story.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *