NASHVILLE, TN (February 3, 2016) – On average, one person dies by suicide every 9.2 hours in Tennessee. On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to make suicide prevention a priority — specifically by supporting expansion of the Jason Flatt Act and passage of the Kenneth and Madge Tullis, M.D., Suicide Prevention Training Act of 2016.
“While suicide is one of the leading causes of death, it is preventable. Unfortunately, many mental health professionals are unprepared to assess and treat suicidal individuals,” said Shannon Hall, board chair of the Middle TN AFSP Chapter. “Schools need to have policies and procedures in place to help students before, during, and after a suicide crisis. If we want to prevent suicide deaths in our state, we must train our professionals, and equip our school districts in suicide prevention.”
The Kenneth and Madge Tullis, M.D., Suicide Prevention Training Act of 2016 (SB 2372 [Watson] / HB 2317 [Howell]) would require licensed mental health professionals to complete a training program in suicide assessment, treatment, and management at least once every two years. If passed, Tennessee would become the sixth state in the U.S. to codify this type of requirement for mental health professionals.
Expansion of the Jason Flatt Act (SB 1992 [Roberts] / HB 2071 [Littleton]) would require all school employees to attend the annual in-service suicide prevention training currently provided for teachers and administrators under the Jason Flatt Act. The expansion would also require local education agencies to adopt policies on student suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34 in Tennessee and the third leading cause of death for young people aged 10-24. Suicide cost Tennessee a total of $1.1 billion of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1.2 million per suicide death. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall in Tennessee.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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