Effective January 1, 2019
On May 21, 2018, Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Suicide Prevention Act of 2018 (T.C.A. § 68-3-703). This Act recognized suicide as a serious public health issue in Tennessee and provided the Commissioner of Health authorization to create a suicide prevention program within the Department of Health. The Act required the Department to establish a team that would (T.C.A. § 68-3-703(b)):
· Compile existing data on suicide deaths
· Review existing resources and programs related to suicide prevention
· Identify evidence-based or promising practices related to the prevention of suicide
· Convene relevant stakeholders to review existing data and existing programs and resources and identify opportunities to improve data collection, analysis and programming
· Submit a report to the general assembly no later than June 30, 2020.
While this legislation formally sunset on June 30, 2021, the Suicide Prevention Program has continued through a five-year Comprehensive Suicide Prevention grant awarded in 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Tennessee Department of Health’s Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program seeks to enhance, support, and strengthen Tennessee's suicide prevention infrastructure through implementation of data-driven approaches (including community-based, health-care related, and upstream interventions) to achieve a 10% reduction in suicide morbidity and mortality by 2025. The populations of focus include residents of rural counties, men in rural counties, and rural residents ages 15–64 years. To learn more about the Comprehensive Suicide Prevention grant, visit or view this infographic CDC’s Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program At a Glance.
Effective July 1, 2019
This bill requires institutions of higher education to develop and implement a suicide prevention plan for students, faculty, and staff, and to provide the suicide prevention plan to students, faculty, and staff at least one time each semester.
Effective July 1, 2007
Tennessee was the first state to pass the Jason Flatt Act. This legislation requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for all school personnel including principals, teachers, and other support staff. Major components of the legislation include:
· Youth suicide awareness and prevention training is mandatory for teachers and principals.
· In-service training must include two hours of youth suicide awareness and prevention education each school year.
· Training is required in order to maintain or renew their teaching license.
· This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention material.