As part of Franklin Tomorrow’s quarterly Breakfast With the Mayors, a new video and website that provides information, resources, and hope for individuals struggling with substance use disorders or mental health challenges was debuted as part of the program.
Developed by the Williamson Prevention Coalition (Anti-Drug Coalition) – which includes the Williamson County Health Department – along with TV personality and recovery advocate Jason Wahler, WC-TV, and other nonprofit organizations, the website is YouAreNotAloneTN.com. On the site, as well as YouTube, you can view the video which features celebrities and experts speaking on topics connected with addiction, mental health, and conversations parents can have with their children regarding drug and alcohol use or misuse.
The You Are Not Alone project came about after Wahler moved from Southern California to Franklin about 16 months ago and was invited by his neighbor, Al Pramuk of Gresham Smith, to attend Franklin Tomorrow’s July 2022 Breakfast With the Mayors, where he met Tate. Through her involvement with Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore’s Find Hope Franklin initiative on mental health and suicide prevention, she introduced him to Wilhelm and Montgomery. As part of her presentation, Montgomery said there have been 251 deaths due to suicide in Williamson County between 2013-2022, and just last week on one day, Franklin Police responded to two suicide attempts and one completion in that same day.
In Williamson County, deaths primarily occurred among white males, ages 50-59, reflecting 65 of those who died by suicide. Russell said in the two years between 2017-2019, the Williamson County 911 Communications Center reported 726 suicide threats, 279 attempts, with 17 percent of those threats made by juveniles.
Annually, the number of patients being seen through the Williamson Medical Center Emergency Department grows by about 100 visits, with an annual average of 1,750 behavioral health patient visits each year for the past six years. As a comparison, Russell said in 2018, about 25 percent of those patients were involuntarily committed to an inpatient psychiatric facility, while in 2022, the number grew to 41 percent involuntarily committed.
As for overdose deaths, in 2021, there were 41 deaths due to overdose, with 60 percent of those due to illicit fentanyl, Montgomery said. The Williamson Prevention Coalition, formerly the Anti-Drug Coalition since its founding in 2012, conducted programs in 12 middle schools and eight high schools, and 51 unique events, in 2022-23, reaching 50,508 youth, parents and community members.
One of the components of the Find Hope Franklin initiative is to provide Question Persuade Refer (QPR) suicide prevention and mental health awareness training in the community for the general public. Additional classes are planned Aug. 2, 1-2:30 p.m., and Aug. 16, 10-11:30 a.m., with both classes to be held at the Franklin Police Department Community Room. Pre-registration is requested and may be made through this link.
Breakfast With the Mayors is presented by our co-presenting partners, Pinnacle Financial Partners and Gresham Smith. Additional support comes from FirstBank, Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Hazen and Sawyer, Williamson County Association of REALTORS, Vulcan Materials, and UHY Certified Public Accountants (formerly Patterson Hardee Ballentine CPAs) Joining in for July as partners are Stites & Harbison PLLC and Vanderbilt University.