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May 2017 Edition
Sue Klebold Headlines "Steps Towards a Safer Tennessee"

Roughly 400 people from across Tennessee came to Trevecca Community Church in Nashville on April 19 for "Steps Toward a Safer Tennessee", TSPN's bi-annual spring symposium. This year's symposium easily set the record for attendance at a TSPN event.
The keynote address by Sue Klebold, mother of one of the students involved in the Columbine High School incident, was the highlight of the symposium. Mrs. Klebold is a mental health and violence prevention advocate, and the author of A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. Her presentation was followed by a Q&A session with Klebold, facilitated by Becky Stoll, LCSW, Vice President of Crisis & Disaster Management for Centerstone, and Scott Ridgway, MS, TSPN's Executive Director.
The symposium also included remarks by Granger Brown, MSW, Chair of the Planning Committee and a Co-Host supporter of the event. Brown, who retired from TSPN as its Substance Abuse Outreach Coordinator, was the one who developed the concept of an event focusing on the public safety aspect of suicide prevention. Matt Yancey, Assistant Commissioner of Mental Health Services for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, also provided remarks.
Linda O'Neal, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, facilitated a panel discussion on the current and potential contributions of state departments, legislators, and employees to suicide prevention. Panelists included Yancey as well as Mike Herrmann, Executive Director of the Healthy, Safe and Supportive Schools initiative within the Tennessee Department of Education and Michelle D. Fiscus, MD, FAAP, Deputy Medical Director of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention and Health Promotion for the Tennessee Department of Health's Division of Family Health and Wellness.
Joanne Perley, MPH, TSPN's Middle Tennessee Regional Coordinator, and Tim Tatum, MBA, MS, LPC, Director of Business Development at Focus Healthcare (the Past Chair of TSPN's Advisory Council) led a presentation/tabletop exercise on the problem of suicide among men in midlife.
The symposium closed with breakout sessions focusing on suicide risk screening tools, the creation of safety plans for people at risk for suicide, crisis intervention techniques, risk assessment within the workplace, suicide-proofing for homes and businesses, and the role of suicide prevention within firearm safety courses.
TSPN wishes to thank all of those who attended this year's event, as well as Trevecca Community Church for hosting and providing lunch. A listing of symposium sponsors, as well as photos from the event, are available on TSPN's Facebook page (    
TSPN Responds to "13 Reasons Why"

The Network has fielded several inquiries from the public regarding Netflix's popular series "13 Reasons Why", based on the novel by Jay Asher. This show's portrayal of death by suicide and the aftermath has aroused considerable debate within the mental health community, especially those who work in the field of suicide prevention.

We would like to offer the following articles that can help clarify the controversy:

How "13 Reasons Why" Gets It Wrong (
A widely shared USA TODAY editorial that summarizes the issues both professionals and those affected by suicide have with the series.
A set of talking points developed by Suicide Awareness Voices for Education (SAVE), in collaboration with the Jed Foundation, for use by parents and other adults.
Can "13 Reasons Why" Really Trigger Suicides? (
Analysis of the problem of suicide contagion, a concern expressed by some critics.
A Parent's Guide to Watching "13 Reasons Why" (
How parents, guardians, and other adults can use the series to begin a healthy dialogue with teens about suicide, mental illness, and other critical issues they face.

Title card copyright Netflix, fair use,

Pioneering Suicide Prevention Activist Releases New Book

Iris Bolton's 1983 book My Son...My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide is considered a definitive work in suicide loss and recovery. Now the "godmother of suicide postvention", who serves as Director Emeritus of The Link Counseling Center in Sandy Springs and Marietta, Georgia, has released an interactive book which includes a DVD of interviews with people who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Voices of Healing and Hope: Conversations on Grief after Suicide includes analysis of major issues faces by those who have lost loved one to suicide such as survivor guilt, the lingering stigma attached to mental illness, anger, and religious aspects-all informed by survivors.

In addition to the DVD, readers also have access to
online companion courses facilitated by Elaine Alpert, M.Ed. of the R e[Mind] Center of Atlanta who co-produced the DVD.

A complimentary chapter of the book and a free video training led Alpert are available at . Lifesaver News, the online newsletter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, includes an interview with Bolton and Alpert in its latest edition: .
TSPN in Action
STH photos

Photos of exhibits on QPR and the Zero Suicide Initiative on display at Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital's Annual Competency Fair on April 10 and 12.

Our thanks to Jennifer Harris (Senior Care Program Manager) and hospital chaplain Jill Zimmer for setting these up on TSPN's behalf.

Loss Survivor Moment

Pamela Hagens was a regular contributor to Out of the Shadows . She dedicates this latest submission to her son Samuel Hagens, who died in 2013 at the age of 19.

Does Hope Still Live Here

When disbelief knocked at my door and sadness bolted in; objectivity tip toed out, and sorrow became my constant tomorrow.  Tears were my nightly companion, sadness was the alarm clock without a snooze option; anxiety dressed me a lot of mornings.   Questions, anger, denial, regret, depression... occupied my day - numbness & nothingness bombarded my thoughts.  Something within whispered;  Does Hope Still Live Here?     I tried to ignore the whisper, but it spoke at uninvited and unexpected times-louder, more frequently - DOES HOPE STILL LIVE HERE?

Forgiveness would echo-you need me, Comfort would repeatedly show up- receive me, Kindness said "I'm Here."   I quietly told caution to sit down, wait a minute, but don't leave just yet.   COMFORT & KINDNESS kept popping in unannounced- they'd hug, smile, wink, invade my space-interrupt my thoughts.   Again, the whisper- Does Hope Still Live Here?   Then comes Compassion- he is Bold - he won't wait for an invite as he chides "by the way, I've brought with me a few friends."   Let me introduce you to; time, prayer, counseling, tenderness, laughter, special memories, &  special moments.   And once again the whisper- the contemplative thought; DOES HOPE STILL LIVE HERE?

Trust did not wait for my reply-he spoke; "OPEN YOUR HEART AGAIN - give me a chance, OPEN YOUR HEART AGAIN - let the healing began."   I stumbled upon a waterfall of exhausting, empty, baffling tears.   ~ LOVE held my hand, and I choked and confided- 'I don't know if I can."  LOVE stroked my cheeks, kissed my forehead, and squeezed my right hand. His Voice thundered and lit up my heart, His calm  Voice soothed my broken heart.    His words were clear, penetrating "I will be with you always".   

And I remembered, and I understood, and I accepted and acknowledged; that Hope Still Resides At This Address-