Tennessee Awarded Federal Suicide Prevention Grant
NASHVILLE—The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Acting Administrator Dr. Eric Broderick presented a “big check” today to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts for $1.5 million. The funds are to continue the work of the Tennessee Lives Count project and provide three additional years of youth suicide prevention initiatives in Tennessee.
“The Tennessee Lives Count project has done an excellent job of providing suicide prevention training to more than 18,000 Tennesseans,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “These funds will allow us to continue these important efforts and keep saving the lives of Tennessee’s youth.”
The first project, which began in 2005, focused on a program that provided youth suicide prevention training to gatekeepers – adults who work with youth at high-risk of suicide. These included not only teachers, but also juvenile, justice staff, CASA volunteers, public health nurses, college and university faculty and students, and foster care staff and parents.
The next phase of the project will focus primarily on youth themselves in the juvenile justice system. Youth in the juvenile justice residential system will be trained in a peer suicide awareness program as well as a life skills/resiliency based curriculum. The project will also continue to train community members and gatekeepers in suicide prevention and early intervention.
“The TLC project teaches the warning signs for suicide among the youth population. It is so important that we keep this momentum going because suicide can be prevented,’’ said Commissioner Betts. “Suicide does not discriminate by gender, economic status, race, or ethnicity. In 90 percent of instances, suicide is the result of unrecognized, untreated or poorly treated mental illness or substance abuse disorders.”
“Each year, more children and young adults die from suicide than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, and chronic lung diseases combined,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, DDS, MPH. “These grants will help states build on and strengthen established youth suicide and early intervention strategies.”
For more information on the Tennessee Lives Count project, visit www.tspn.org/tlc. For additional mental health or substance abuse information, please contact TDMHDD’s Office of Communications at (615) 253-4812 or visit www.state.tn.us/mental.