Two girls have written inspirational notes to put on the Natchez Trace Bridge in the hopes that anyone contemplating suicide will see messages of hope
After working for months with Mayor Ken Moore, a panel of doctors, counselors and law enforcement will roll out a plan this spring to tackle the city’s mental health issues.
The call volume in Franklin has continued to rise during the last decade. While fewer residents died by suicide in 2019, more threatened to take their lives. In total, Franklin police officers handled 197 mental health related calls. Seven people died, 150 threatened and 40 attempted.
Prioritizing this problem has been on Moore’s to-do list for the last two years. Part of that has meant creating a “blue ribbon panel,” which typically consists of experts and key-players tackling a problem.
“It’s very complex problem,” Moore said. “We’ve had four meetings, and we have focused in on developing a mission statement and vision. We have developed a path forward.”
Since Moore orchestrated the panel independently of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, its meetings aren’t open to the public. But Moore said the group’s focus is raising awareness for suicide prevention and examining behavioral crisis centers in other cities. It will also focus on mental health resources. Right now, the county’s largest counseling center has a wait list of 100 people with a two- to six-week wait.
“We are trying to find out a better way to enlist more,” he said. “Right now if someone is in crisis, their options are police, jail or the ER. And we know jail isn’t a good place.”
Moore said the group will unveil their plans at the State of the City in May.
Who is on the panel
- Cathy Montgomery – Williamson County Health Director
- Becky Mitchell – Williamson County Schools Counseling Specialist
- Molly O’Neal – Williamson County Schools
- Mandy Fisher – Franklin Special School District
- Mike Alday – Alday Communications
- Vonna Wilson – YMCA chaplain
- Luis Sura – Franklin Community Church
- Amy Alexander – Refuge Center for Counseling CEO
- Zannie Martin – Williamson County Juvenile Court Director
- Chief Deb Faulkner – Franklin Police Department
- Sheriff Dusty Rhoades – Williamson County Sheriff’s Office
- Andy Russell – Williamson Medical Center
- Williamson County Judge Deanna Johnson
- James Miller – Rolling Hills Hospital
- Cindy Syler – Mercy Community Healthcare
- Kim Tyner – Williamson County Anti Drug Coalition
- Shelly Fiscus – Cool Springs Pediatric
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Reach Emily West at email@example.com or 615-613-1380 and on Twitter @emwest22.
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