There's a growing need for trauma support groups in Tennessee

Posted at 1:10 PM, Mar 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 14:40:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Following the apparent suicide deaths of two Parkland, Florida school shooting survivors, many are asking what can be done to help those impacted by trauma and mass shootings.

A week ago, former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Sydney Aiello, who survived the 2018 massacre, died by suicide. Then on Saturday, a second student died in what police are calling "an apparent suicide."

In Tennessee, two Clarksville Middle School students recently died by suicide, prompting some to ask if the Volunteer state should offer more trauma and survivors guilt support groups.

Kids are growing up in a day and age where mass shootings and trauma are a part of their everyday life.

Scott Ridgway said, "I think it's important that every individual looks at what their needs are, when it deals with some type of trauma."

Ridgway is with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. He believes our state needs more trauma support groups for children ages 10 to 17.

According to Ridgway, "In 2017 we lost 51 young people to suicide."

Right now they're working to train thousands of people on how to detect suicidal thoughts in children.

"We need to be able to validate that 'I may not understand what you're going through... but how can I help you get through the struggles that you're really feeling right now?'"

Governor Lee recently announced a $1.1 million grant to help them expand their program.

Ridgway said, "Work with trainers, train more people, do more with our schools."

He went on to say that they offer free debriefing at schools after someone dies by suicide, but he stresses we need to be proactive, not reactive.

"So when we see any change of behavior, we might want to be able to ask 'What's going on?' Or find out what's going on with that individual."

Urging someone to seek help could save their life.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, you can call the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, call 1-800-273-TALK or text TN to 741741. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Here are additional resources for Tennessee residents:

In addition, here are some groups that meet in the area:

1) Survivors of Suicide Group (free support group)

- Nashville, Murfreesboro, and surrounding areas. Locations and times can be found here.

2) Advanced Processing Group

- Thursday 5-6:30pm

- Website

- Michael Murphy, L.C.S.W.

- 205 Powell Place Brentwood, TN 37027

- O: 615-370-3701

3) Survivors Guilt: When Living is Part of the Trauma

- Website

- April Broussard, LCSW

- 4529 Red Bark Court Antioch, TN 37013

- 615-680-9822

- This group is for men and women who have guilt associated with surviving a trauma where others did not, or for those who have been affected by Suicide. Welcome to a safe circle to be seen, heard and process your experience and potentially conflicting emotions. ***This group is available to those who are working individually with a therapist

**CNN contributed to this report.