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Suicide Prevention

Suicide Awareness Month September 2023

On behalf of The Medical Foundation of Chattanooga, The University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, LifeBridge Chattanooga, and The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society are very pleased to be working together on special activities to highlight Suicide Awareness Month -- September 2023.  Included in the activities are two special sessions in our "Let's Be CLER" series:"

  • Wednesday, September 27, 2023, from 7 - 8 am ET in Probasco Auditorium:  Speaker is Carrie Cunningham, MD, FACS, Surgeon and Faculty member at Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  Her topic is "Removing the Mask."  CME credit is available for those who attend in person or participat in the live Zoom session provided.
  • Monday, October 2, 2023, from 7 - 8 am ET in Probasco Auditorium:  Speakers Dr. Johnson and Edie Sutter.  The topic is "When Your Best Isn't Enough."  CME Credit is available for those who attend in person or participate in the live Zoom session provided.

We will provide a light breakfast for our participants.

All Residents, Fellows, Medical and PA Students, as well as Area Physicians are encouraged to attend or participate by Zoom.  A recording will be made available for those who can't participate live.  CME Credit is available for those practicing physicians who either attend in person or connect ot the live Zoom and who complete the required evaluation form after the presentation.

View the flyer from the Medical Society about all the scheduled events. 

national suicide prevention hoteline 1-800-273-TALK
If you are in crisis, or worried about someone who may be, please call the 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) OR Crisis Text by texting TALK to 741741. 

Other Resources:

  • LifeBridge Chattanooga: A Physician Well-Being Initiative sponsored by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society and its Medical Foundation.  Website: Phone: 423.591.9830. Provides confidential access to care at no charge for area physicians, including Residents and Fellows, as well as Medical and UT PA students rotating in Chattanooga at our campus.
  • CIGNA Resident Employee Assistance (EAP) Program: An Employee Assistance Program just for residents is provided at no charge by the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga Campus for our Residents and Fellows. Accessing your benefit is easy: Dial 1.877.622.4327 and identify yourself as a Resident or Fellow with the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga (Company ID:  UTGME if asked). You can also use the website:  The program provides up to 3 in person counseling sessions per issue, per member, per year, to the resident/fellow and each individual living in the resident's/fellow's household.  Also, the program provides unlimited phone or telehealth counseling to all these individuals.  All services are confidential, pre-paid by the University, and available 24/7.  Services include counseling, work-life support (childcare, elder care, pet care), financial services, legal services, and identify theft services.  
  • Student Assistance Program: A Student Assistance Program provided at no charge by the UTHSC Campus for its Medical and PA Students regardless of the campus at which they are rotating. Visit our Medical & PA Students Assistance Program/Counseling page for more information.
  • CIGNA Behavioral Health Benefits: provided for all Residents and Fellows (as well as covered dependents) who participate in the UT Resident Group Health Insurance Plan through CIGNA. The plan also provides for mental health and substance abuse benefits through CIGNA Behavioral Health. Go to for details and covered providers. Before going to any behavioral health provider (psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor), the Resident should contact the CIGNA Behavioral Health service line at 800.274.4573 and have them set up sessions and coordinate benefits. 

Mayo Clinic Well-Being Index:

The University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society have worked together to launch access for local physicians, including UT Residents and Fellows, to a nationally recognized well-being and burnout screening tool called the Well-Being Index.  Emails providing information to access the tool were sent on August 24, so please be on the lookout for the instructions to log in and "self-screen" to gage your risk of burnout.  There is no cost to any of our Residents, Fellows, Medical and PA Students, or area/regional physicians.

National Physician Suicide Awareness Day

national physician suicide awareness day

Shine a Light - Speak Its Name!
September 17, 2023

Physician suicide is a tremendous issue in healthcare today. While estimates of the actual number of physician suicides vary, literature has shown that the relative risk for suicide being 2.27 times greater among women and 1.41 times higher among men versus the general population. Each physician suicide is a devastating loss affecting everyone - family, friends, colleagues and up to 1 million patients per year. It is both a very personal loss and a public health crisis.

Vision Zero calls on individuals, residency programs, health care organizations and national groups to make a commitment to break down stigma, increase awareness, open the conversation, decrease the fear of consequences, reach out to colleagues, recognize warning signs and learn to approach our colleagues who may be at risk. Let us challenge each other as individuals, communities, institutions and organizations to make changes to reach zero physician suicides.

"Shed light on this issue and change the culture of medicine to save our own lives."

Suicidal Signs

Your knowledge of suicidal signs will save lives. Educate yourself about suicide warning signs, listen and pay attention to your friends, family, co-workers and everyone around you. 

Here are warning signs to look out for:

  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
  • Giving away possessions
  • Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior 

Learn more from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Chattanooga Crisis Services: Hotline available 24/7 in Southeast Tennessee at 800.704.2651.

Sep 18, 2023