The city of Franklin will host a special program Sept. 10 in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day to help reduce the stigma of mental health issues in the region.
According to the city of Franklin, Williamson County has the second-highest suicide rate in the state for individuals 10-19 years old. Additionally, 50% of suicides are committed by those ages 35-64.
The city is working in conjunction with Mayor Ken Moore's Find Hope Franklin Initiative to help connect residents to mental health resources in the area.
“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 in a release. “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.”
The program will be co-hosted by Franklin Police Chief Deb Faulkner, who cited the county's suicide epidemic is often seen by first responders in Franklin.
“Psychological emergencies are the leading call for service for the Franklin Police Department," Faulkner said in a release. "I am sworn to protect our citizens, and the growing number of mental health issues in our community is very alarming.”
The program will feature three Williamson County residents affected by suicide as well as local mental health experts including Amy Alexander, Director of the Refuge Center for Counseling; Cindy Siler from Mercy Community Health Care; Tom Starling, President and CEO of Mental Health America of the Midsouth; and Sej West, Director of the Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System.The program will be streamed on the city's Facebook and Instagram pages at 6 p.m. Afterward, it will be uploaded to the city website, according to the release.
For more on the city's efforts to highlight mental health in recent months, see Community Impact Newspaper's June 2020 front-page story here.