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July 2017 Edition
Tullis Act document
A signed copy of the Tullis Act as provided by the Governor's Office.
Governor Haslam Signs Tullis Act into Law

The Kenneth and Madge Tullis, MD, Suicide Prevention Training Act of 2017 was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam during a public signing ceremony on June 21.

On hand for the signing of the bill were TSPN Zero Suicide Coordinator Misty Leitsch, BBA, BSW; TSPN Advisory Council Past Chair Tim Tatum, MBA, MA, LPC-MHSP; Tom Starling, Ed.D., President/CEO of Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee; and Shannon Hall, a member of TSPN's Intra-State Departmental Group and of the Tennessee chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The Tullises were unable to attend the ceremony, but have released the following statement on the signing of the bill:

We are truly honored to have our names attached to the Kenneth and Madge Tullis, M.D., Suicide Prevention Training Act of 2017.

We are very grateful to Governor Haslam, the Tennessee Senate and House, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and especially the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network's Executive Director, Scott Ridgway, and our wonderful fellow Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network volunteers and staff for their tireless effort on behalf of suicide prevention in Tennessee.

Job well done!  
Exterior of the Montgomery Bell State Park Inn, site of the retreat.
TSPN Advisory Council Retreat

TSPN's Ad visory Council held its annual retreat and business meeting at Montgomery Bell State Park Inn on June 7-8.

Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services provided opening remarks at the meeting, alongside Morgan F. McDonald, MD, FAAP, FACP, Assistant Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health and Director of its Division of Family Health and Wellness. Williams reviewed several recent developments within and affecting the Department relative to mental health and substance abuse treatment, while Morgan discussed TDH priorities related to suicide prevention.

The meeting included a draft presentation of a PowerPoint to be used in orientations for new Advisory Council members, as well as a strategic planning session coordinated by Adam Graham, Advisory Council Co-Secretary (whose title was changed to Advisory Council Vice-Chair by Council vote).

A summary of other votes taken during the business meeting:
  • Authorization of another TSPN symposium during the spring of 2018, with nationally regarded suicidologist Thomas Joiner, Ph.D., as invited guest
  • Approval of a new TSPN brochure on suicide and social media
  • Voting of Granger Brown and Teresa Culbreath onto TSPN's Emeritus Group
  • Renaming of the Network's Corporate articles as the TSPN By-Laws
  • Conversion of the office of Advisory Council Co-Secretary to the office of Advisory Council Co-Chair
  • Support of the creation of the Garden of Hope as a future home of the International "Faces of Suicide" Memorial Wall
  • Establishment of the statewide TSPN Higher Education Task Force

The next meeting of the Advisory Council will take place at 1 PM on Wednesday, September 13, at Trevecca Community Church, following that day's Suicide Prevention Awareness Day ceremony and luncheon. 

Loss Survivor Moment

This reflection by Al Estock was shared in the debut edition of Out of the Shadows , published in July of 2013.

Grief: Sometimes a Shadow

It will soon be 4 1/2 years since I lost my partner, Warren. At first grief felt like my worst enemy--and there are moments it still can be that, but it has evolved over time into more of a trusted companion. My grief has changed dramatically in so many ways--but at times I have questioned if I have any issues with unresolved grief...

I understand, and I think it is important for survivors to understand, that a grief path really does not involve a beginning and a distinct end--but simply a path that seemingly begins with a life of its own... that eventually becomes incorporated into our lives as an important part--just a part--of who we are. My path has been filled with starts and stops, shocking bumps, hills and valleys, many steps forward and some backwards, despair and peace.

As time goes by it becomes harder to distinguish my own life path from that of my grief---I cannot recall the moment they merged--and then again, they were never apart, were always one in the same. It is both encouraging and frightening to experience my life with grief as just a part of it, versus when it seemed to be the only aspect of my life.

I feel liberated to know I can revisit any aspect of my grief whenever I choose, and not feel the burden of thinking I have become mired in my grief--that somehow I have failed in my mission of processing grief. Grief is not who I am. Grief has become an important part of me, a part I will not deny, a part I will cherish in its own way, a part from which and about which I can learn, for as long as I live. It is not something to be jettisoned from who I am. It is not some dread disease from which to be cured. It serves a purpose, and changes like everything else in life. It has taken its own rightful place in my being--sometimes a shadow, sometimes a cloud, sometimes a rainbow, sometimes a glaring sun.

The TSPN Call to Action needs articles from suicide loss and lived experience survivors for the next issue and the ones to come. If there's a piece you want to submit to the newsletter, send it to with the "TCTA Submission".  Feedback and suggestions can also be sent to this address with the subject line "TCTA Feedback".