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Dr. Delavega discusses breaking the cycle of poverty

 News Channel 3

March 2015

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Suicide hits home in West Tennessee

Published in Jackson Sun - Written by AJ Morris

March 2015 

Health professionals from across West Tennessee came together at the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus on Friday morning, gathering to share resources and discuss mental health issues facing rural communities such as suicide, social work, and attention disorders.

“The rural community needs attention just like any community,” explained Veronica Morrow, professor of social work at University of Memphis Lambuth Campus and organizer of Friday’s conference. “Unfortunately, there sometimes are not a lot of resources out there in the rural community, so we wanted to get together and get everyone, from directors to students to laypeople, to come and get and give information with each other, and maybe share it with their own networks.”

Discussing one of the most pressing issues facing both the rural community and Tennessee as a whole, Paula Terry, director of nursing at Pathways Behavioral Health Services, shared some sobering statistics.

“In 2011, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in Tennessee,” Terry said. “It claims the life of nearly thirty thousand Americans each year, and since we’ve been in this room this morning, two people died of suicide. That’s one every fourteen minutes, and I think that’s something people just don’t realize. And it’s close to home because in the last month nine people in West Tennessee have died of suicide.”

Terry explained that recognizing the warning signs is crucial in suicide prevention.

“I can’t look at two people and say that one looks like a suicide risk and the other doesn’t,” she said. “There is no typical profile, but there are signs and warnings that are shown, and that’s when you step in to try and persuade and rescue them.”

Signs of suicide risk in an individual include social withdrawal, alcohol or dug abuse, aggressive tendencies or violent behavior without cause, and erratic mood swings with no cause.

Susan Elswick, assistant professor from the department of social work at the University of Memphis, spoke on the benefits of site-based behavioral health services in rural areas, and the need for collaboration between faculty and social workers.

“Having services on site is such a great way to access and provide our services to children and families, because we have children in school eight hours a day. So, we have access to them for eight hours a day — so why not provide those services?”

Elswick stressed that the ability to observe and react to the specific actions of individual students in real time is an invaluable capability in the process of providing guidance and correction.

“It’s important for us to be present in schools and to be able to work with teachers in the classroom and to see what they’re seeing so we can directly address it,” she said, “because sometimes teachers just don’t have the time or resources to properly guide certain students, and site-based behavioral health services can help with that.”







 Department Newsletters

Archived Announcements

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The Doctors-December 12, 2014
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Wendy Thomas - Memphis Flyer - September 25, 2014 

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Louis Goggans - Memphis Flyer - October 14, 2014

U of M Gets Grant for Social Work
Commercial Appeal - October 13, 2014

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Bernal E. Smith - TSDMemphis - October 7,2014

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Tom Charlier - Local News - September 13, 2014 

Guest Column: Memphis Must Get Grip On Childhood Poverty
Steven Soifer - Columnists - July 20, 2014

Memphis Suffers Population Loss as Nashville Surges, Census Estimates Show
Tom Charlier - The Commercial Appeal - May 22, 2014

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Tom Charlier - The Commercial Appeal - March 27, 2014

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Guest Column: ACA Puts Health Care on Affordable Track
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Wendi C. Thomas: To Win War On Poverty, The Safety Net Must Be Personalized
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Michael Kelley - The Commercial Appeal - December 4, 2013

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An Effective Anti-Poverty Program
Elena Delavega - Social Policy - Fall 2013

Memphis Teamsters Testify At Workers' Rights Board On Republic/Allied Waste
PR Newswire - November 5, 2012

Population Growth Stagnant in Memphis Metro Area, New Census estimates Show
Tom Charlier - The Commercial Appeal - March 27, 2014

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