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Posted on: September 28, 2020

Suicide Prevention Alliance takes to the streets


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. –  Forty-one volunteers and members of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Alliance, including 10 members of the Mayor’s Youth Council,  joined in direct action Saturday to promote suicide prevention awareness throughout the community.

Teams gathered along thoroughfares and at busy intersections and held signs directed at passing motorists. Messages included “Suicide Is Preventable,” “There Is Hope” and “There Is Help.” An important sign promoted the Crisis Text Line, a texting service for emotional crisis support. It said: “TEXT: TN to 741741,” which is a free, confidential service available 24/7 that gets you in touch with a trained listener.

The late September morning of direct action was sponsored by The Alliance as part of its observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, in which mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness. 

The Alliance is a local group that has grown from a pilot program convened by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The group is chaired by Bill Harpel, City of Clarksville Military Liaison, and its members come from various mental health, public health and veterans service organizations.

“Clarksville and Montgomery County got involved in this partnership with the VA and SAMHSA in 2018, and as a result a group of dedicated community leaders has been working together to reduce suicide through messaging, caregiver training, and data gathering and analysis,” Harpel said. “I was really proud of the large group that turned out for our direct action event, especially the Mayor’s Youth Council members. This helps with our goal to provide good information that people can use day-to-day to reduce suicide.”

In addition to the Crisis Text Line, the Alliance promotes awareness of other suicide prevention resources. These include:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.

  • The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line -- 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 -- connects veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text service.

A large group of volunteers joined the Clarksville-Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Alliance on Saturday to spread the word that suicide is preventable and help is available.

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