The "Not Alone Conference" began Friday night with sessions in both Huntsville and Albertville. The goal of the conference is to provide people with information and resources to take away any kind of perceived stigma attached to mental illness, addiction, suicide or suicidal thoughts. There are also breakout sessions that focus on issues like pornography addiction or infertility.
One of the keynote speakers this weekend is Kay Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church based in California. She and her husband, Rick Warren, lost their son Matthew to suicide several years ago. She has devoted a great deal of time educating and counseling others who have faced similar tragedies in their own families. She traveled to the Tennessee Valley to speak to attendees at the sessions in both Huntsville and Albertville.
"I love the fact that the faith community here has decided that mental illness and suicide is something they're not going to ignore," said Warren. "We're going to jump in and do something about it."
Earlier this week, WAAY 31 brought you a one-on-one interview with Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who is also speaking at "Not Alone," about the suicide of his wife last year. Other high profile speakers at the event include Jeremiah Johnston who is the president of the Christian Thinkers Society and a FOX News contributor. Bryan Flannery travels the country speaking very openly about the mental struggles that face veterans and current members of the military. Chip Judd is a pastor based in South Carolina who travels the country counseling people about how to handle a multitude of issues they might encounter in their everyday life.