Teen focus at annual Suicide and The Black Church Conference

Former UT and WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw to deliver keynote.

TSD Newsroom | 5/12/2017, 11:13 a.m.
Former UT and WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw to deliver keynote.
Chamique Holdsclaw

William and Dianne Young of the Memphis Healing Center did not need the recent news of a 12-year-old reportedly taking her own life after being bullied to convince them of the great need for a conversation about suicide among teens.

The Youngs were already painfully aware that suicide has become the second leading cause of death for teenagers 12-19 years of age, replacing homicides.

So, once again, the Memphis Healing Center will host its annual National Suicide and the Black Church Conference. The eighth version of the conference is set for June 14-15 at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 800 Madison Ave. in Midtown.

The theme for this year’s conference is “I Survived!”

Our special guest for this year’s Conference will be

Chamique Holdsclaw, a former WNBA Rookie of the Year and an Olympic Gold medal winner, will keynote the conference. She will share her own story of survival.

Holdsclaw revealed in 2004 that she was battling depression. Two years later, a suicide attempt landed her in the hospital. It wasn’t until her 2012 autobiography that her teammates and the general public became aware of the attempt to end her life.

“MIND/GAME: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw” details much of her story in documentary form. Referencing the making of the film, Holdsclaw told a reporter, “It’s taking a part of you that’s not so good and really sharing it with the world. …It was OK when it was in my control. But when you put something out there like that, it gets exposure to more and more people.”

Holdsclaw now tells her story in various public formats.

During the conference that she will keynote, presenters from across the country will facilitate workshops and plenary sessions. Information disseminated during the conference, the Youngs say, will “empower delegates to return to their places of worship and/or employment better able to identify those going through the dark night of the soul in need of emotional or mental health services.”

Churches, agencies, businesses and the communities all will benefit from the empowerment-directed information, according to the Youngs. That information will include factors that promote hopelessness and will be interspersed with the testimonies of survivors.

To register early, visit www.memphishealingcenter.com.

For more information, call 901-370-4673.