With suicide rates at such a high level in Williamson County, the city of Franklin is working with the Find Hope Franklin initiative to present a special program on suicide prevention that will premiere Thursday at 6 p.m. and will coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day.
Williamson County holds the second-highest death by suicide rate in Tennessee for juveniles ages 10-19 years old. Adults in the county struggle too, with more than 50% of deaths by suicide being individuals ages 35-64.
In hopes of reducing the stigma of mental health and bringing awareness to this epidemic, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and Franklin Police Chief Deb Faulkner will host the program that will be accessible through the city’s Facebook and Instagram channels.
The program focuses on two Williamson County residents who survived a death by suicide attempt, and one local father who lost a teenage son to suicide. The program also features these local mental health professionals: Amy Alexander, director of the Refuge Center; Cindy Siler from Mercy Community Health Care; Tom Starling, president and CEO of Mental Health America of the Midsouth; and Sej West, director of Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System.
Moore created a blue-ribbon panel in 2019 to discuss the mental health crisis in Williamson County. From that panel, an initiative was formed called Find Hope Franklin and included a website where people can find local resources to assist those dealing with mental health issues.
“My hope is that people of all ages will see this program and share it with others in our community to bring awareness to this growing epidemic in our community,” Moore said. “The website was created by our blue-ribbon panel of Williamson County’s finest professionals in mental health. The site offers local mental health resources if you need immediate care or other types of help.”
Faulkner added: “Psychological emergencies are the leading call for service for the Franklin Police Department. I am sworn to protect our citizens, and the growing number of mental health issues in our community is very alarming.”