Judy Collins, a Grammy Award winning musician and painter, filmmaker,  musical mentor and in-demand speaker on addiction, mental health and suicide prevention, is the keynote speaker at The LCADA Way’s annual Pearls of Wisdom Benefit, on Oct. 25 at Avon’s Emerald Event Center. The LCADA Way cares for individuals and families struggling with alcoholism and addiction — and Collins knows the battle firsthand. 
Pulse magazine talked with Collins about what inspires her. 

What keeps you singing and writing? 
Well, I’ve been sober for 40 years, and I’m in Alcoholics Anonymous… I have a very healthy life. I keep working and trying to be creative, and I do things that make me happy and that encourage that I’ll be around as long as I want to be. 

When did you fall in love with music? 
I was raised in a very musical family. My father made his living in the music business; he had a radio show. So, I listened to him practically every day and that was an education. I was drawn to folk music because of the stories. 

What’s your advice for young people? 
They say to think local and act global — I think do what is available to you. That’s what is important. It’s the little things that count. And when you see an injury, when you see a violation, speak up. 

What message do you share? 
Mental health is our No. 1 problem — and we are losing more people to alcoholism in this country than to drugs. My last book, “Cravings,” is about my eating disorder, compulsive over-eating... Whatever we do that is an addiction spins us into mental health violations.
Meditation works. Alternative medicine works — acupuncture, massage, a free program in a 12-step arena. You can get help for free, and nonprofits like The LCADA Way are here to guide you.