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TDMHSAS Announces Suicide Prevention Grants

Wednesday, August 07, 2019 | 11:10am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Grantees receiving new state funding to prevent suicide and promote better mental health among young Tennesseans are planning innovative ways to rise to the challenge of reducing the state’s number of unnecessary deaths.  Ideas to make an impact include a statewide expansion of a successful program, new outreach and interface with pediatricians, and a social media campaign to reach young people.

For the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget, Governor Bill Lee proposed and the Tennessee General Assembly approved $500,000 in new, recurring state funding for youth and young adult suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs.  The three grantees were selected after a statewide competitive process.

“I am grateful to Gov. Lee and the General Assembly for appropriating this funding, and I’m thankful to our partner providers in the community for stepping up with great ideas to meet this need,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “We’re losing too many Tennesseans to suicide, and it’s especially troubling when young lives are cut short.  With the new ability to reach more of our youth and young adults, we will definitely make a difference.”

Grantees and proposed programs include:

  • Tennessee Voices for Children: (1) Expand coverage of the Youth Screen program to all 95 counties in partnership with school-based behavioral health liaisons and (2) integrate Teen Mental Health First Aid Training for youth ages 14-18 and Coping and Support Training (CAST) for youth ages 10-13.
  • Centerstone: (1) Engage pediatric practices in suicide prevention trainings and protocols and (2) Train people at institutions of higher education on the Zero Suicide model
  • Mental Health Association of East Tennessee: (1) Expand Mental Health 101 to serve 20,000 students at 50 - 60 previously unserved schools (2) Mental health awareness social media campaign

“The need for suicide prevention services knows no difference between urban and rural, wealthy or distressed counties.  With this funding, we have the opportunity to truly have a statewide impact,” said Morenike Murphy, LPC-MHSP, TDMHSAS Director of Crisis Services and Suicide Prevention.

Tennessee’s statewide crisis line (855-Crisis-1) is available 24/7/365 to talk to people contemplating suicide or having other mental health emergencies.  Learn more about the Statewide Crisis Line at this link: