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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee is spreading the word to students, faculty, staff and the community about mental health awareness, wellness and suicide prevention with VolAware on Oct. 8 and 9.

The event, hosted by the UT Counseling Center and the Safety, Environment and Education (SEE) Center and sponsored by WBIR, will include opening ceremonies, a movie, a training program for suicide prevention, booths on wellness created by campus groups and an awareness fair.

“Mental health awareness is a key issue on college campuses because it impacts everyone. Not attending to our mental health can interfere with our academic, work and personal lives. Attending to our mental health contributes to our overall wellness and increases our ability to function. We hope VolAware will provide the kind of awareness needed to encourage students to seek help when their lives become overwhelming,” said Connie Briscoe, assistant director of the UT Counseling Center.

UT faculty and staff and an advisory group of students helped plan the events. Head football coach Phillip Fulmer appeared on advertisements for the event on WBIR. Fulmer is the national spokesman for The Jason Foundation, a youth suicide prevention organization based in Hendersonville.

VolAware begins Monday, Oct. 8. Here is a schedule of events:

• “Mental Health and Wellness in Your World” booth contest at 6:15 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

• QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), a training program used in suicide prevention and education, from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. QPR participants do not have to register in advance. QPR provides the skills to effectively and directly ask people if they are suicidal, persuade them to get help and refer them to the appropriate professional.

• Opening ceremonies at 8 p.m. in the UC Auditorium with a welcome from the Knox County and Knoxville mayors’ offices, the UT administration and student leaders.

• The movie “Reign Over Me” immediately following the opening ceremonies. Adam Sandler plays a man who lost his family in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and is trying to cope with his grief. Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith and Liv Tyler also star in the movie released earlier this year.

VolAware events continue Tuesday, Oct. 9, with an awareness fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the UC Plaza.

An inner child play center, inflatables, mental health “Jeopardy!” contests and booths staffed by representatives from wellness, mental health and professional development organizations will be available all day.

Here is a schedule of events during the fair:

• QPR training from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
• WUTK live broadcast from 10 a.m. to noon
• Mental health screenings from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• HABIT Therapy Dogs from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
• Rape Aggression Defense class demonstrations from 11:30 a.m. to noon
• Yoga class from noon to 1 p.m.
• Multicultural dancing lessons from noon to 1:30 p.m.
• “What Can I Do with a Major in Helping Professions?” booth from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
• Rape Aggression Defense class demonstrations from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• QPR training from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Click here for more information.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,

Connie Briscoe, (865) 974-2196,