State To Plant Special "Living Matters" Tree In Bicentennial Park In Nashville To Honor Survivors Of Suicide

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is joining with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Tennessee) and the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) to highlight Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with the planting of a special “Living Matters” tree in Bicentennial Park.

A ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. CDT on Monday, Sept. 30, near the roundabout at 6th Avenue and Harrison Street, just north of downtown Nashville. A commemorative plaque will be placed under the Willow Oak tree to honor all survivors of suicide. It will be inscribed: “LIVING MATTERS: Dedicated to Survivors of Suicide; Individuals, their families, and their friends.”

TDMHSAS Commissioner Douglas Varney, NAMI Tennessee Executive Director Jeff Fladen, and TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgway will speak at the event. Members of the public are invited to attend.

“Suicide Prevention Awareness Month may last just 30 days, but that won’t stop the pain of suicide and attempted suicide,” said Commissioner Varney. “Suicide prevention is a year-round issue, and I urge all Tennesseans to do everything they can to help us end this tragedy.”

Some key facts about suicide in Tennessee:

· Between 1981 and 2011, the number of Tennessee deaths attributed to suicide almost doubled.

· Major depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide.

· About two-thirds of people who die by suicide are clinically depressed at the time of their deaths.

· The risk of suicide in people with major depression is about 20 times that of the general population.

· People who have a dependence on alcohol or drugs in addition to being depressed are at greater risk for suicide.

“Suicide remains a major threat to middle-aged adults in our state, and the ebb of the Middle East conflicts means more soldiers trying to reconcile their wartime experiences with civilian life,” said TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgway. “In the months and years to come, we’ll be counting more than ever on our partnerships with TDMHSAS and NAMI Tennessee, as well the help of the general public, to prevent suicide and save lives. 

Anyone who is in a crisis or knows someone who is in a crisis, whether or not they are thinking about killing themselves, is urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800 273-TALK (8255). Callers will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in their area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential and free.

Also, the TDMHSAS has a toll-free statewide phone number for mental health and substance use crisis services. The number, 855-CRISIS-1 (855 274-7471), will route callers to their local crisis provider.


Legislation Calls For State Board Of Professional Counselors To Promulgate Their Own Code Of Ethics For Licensure

State Senator Jack Johnson announced Monday that he has introduced legislation requiring the State Board of Professional Counselors to promulgate their own code of ethics to be used for licensure requirements under Tennessee law.  Senate Bill 1 would change the current state requirement that automatically accepts the code of ethics from the American Counseling Association, ... (click for more)

Autism Society Has Christmas Party Saturday

The Autism Society of East Tennessee will be partnering with the Chattanooga Autism Center again to hold their 7th annual Christmas party at the Furry Friends Farm in Rock Springs. The party will be on Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at 1750 Highway 95. The party will be for children with autism and their families, and every registered child will receive ... (click for more)

Lawsuit Says Girl Received Severe Traumatic Brain Injury In Woodmore Bus Wreck

A new lawsuit in the tragic Woodmore Elementary School bus wreck said one girl on the bus suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. Attorneys Joseph Fried and Michael Goldberg of Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Circuit Court on behalf of the minor daughter of Shanquatta Byrd. The bus driver, Johnthony Walker, was transporting 37 students from ... (click for more)

Officer Who Was Shot Returned Fire; Is Recovering Well; Shooter Still On Loose

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday morning that the officer who was shot three times on Thursday is recovering well.   Chief Fletcher said the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest and one bullet hit the vest, which protected him during the shooting.  The officer was able to return fire, although Chief Fletcher would not comment on how many bullets ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Couldn't Manage Public Education

I have been reading the buzz about Signal Mountain and other small municipalities considering a move to form their own school district within their municipal boundaries.  It is quite the comedy hour considering the notion that small cities that for decades could not even manage small sewer systems or 911 districts, are somehow going to do a better job with public education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abolish Bail For Poor

Our terribly overcrowded Hamilton County Jail may get some help from an unsuspected corner – the Obama administration is tackling the fact that right now over 450,000 people are in our country’s jails because they are too poor to pay for bail. It is a violation of the Constitution to “punish people for their poverty.” As the Eighth Amendment provides, “… excessive bail ought not ... (click for more)