Dr. Kenneth Tullis

Author of
"The Courage to Live WorkBook"

Contact Information:
5158 Stage Road
Suite 120
Memphis, TN 38134
(901) 383-1924

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Jerry and Elsie Weyrauch founded the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network/United States of America (SPAN/USA) in 1996 in response to their daughter's suicide. In October 1998, Dr. Tullis, and his wife, Madge, attended the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Reno, Nevada co-sponsored by SPAN/USA, and went on a campaign to "SPAN the State of Tennessee in 1998."

In 1999 Dr. David Satcher, the Surgeon General of the United States, encouraged the development of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy for the United States as one of his major campaigns. Ken and Madge accepted the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Suicide and with the help of Virginia Trotter Betts from Dr. Satcher's office started a campaign to develop a Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

Dr. Tullis convened an expert panel to develop the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention by responding to each of the fifteen points in The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Suicide 1999 published by the Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C. These strategies were submitted for consideration at the statewide Tennessee Suicide Prevention Conference (TSPC), October 7-8, 1999, in Nashville. Co-chaired by the Tullises, this conference provided a forum to increase awareness of the risk of suicide, ways to recognize warning signs and symptoms, how to establish and maintain prevention programs, and ways to assist Tennesseans in obtaining proper medical treatment when suicidal thoughts are present.

At the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Conference, the Surgeon General's National Strategy was endorsed and the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Strategy was presented to Dr. Wadley, Commissioner of the Department of Health, Elizabeth Rukeyser, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities, George Hailey, Chair of the Mental Health Planning Council, and other state public sector leaders. Both the public and private sector symbolically accepted responsibility for the Tennessee Strategy. Eight regions were challenged to further develop and begin implementation of the strategies.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) was the result of the 1999 Conference. It consists of eight regions throughout the state under the operational coordination of the TSPN Executive Director who, in turn, collaborates with an Advisory Council appointed by the Governor of Tennessee. The Tullises served on the TSPN Advisory Council from 2001 to 2011.

On October 22, 2003, the Memphis/Shelby County Suicide Prevention Network (MSPN) was formally organized as one of eight regions under the operational coordination of TSPN.

The Network works to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning signs of suicide, and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in Tennessee.

The Network goals are to coordinate and implement the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Strategies, based on the U.S Surgeon General's "Call to Action to Prevent Suicide."

Who Should be There?

  • People concerned about family and friends
  • Council members, police and law enforcement staff
  • Advocates and community volunteers
  • Workers in health, welfare or justice
  • Emergency service workers
  • Counselors, teachers and church workers
  • Mental health practitioners
  • Representatives from state departments
  • Survivors of suicide attempts
  • People who have lost loved ones to suicide

Finally, starting in 2005, TSPN established the annual Madge and Ken Tullis Suicide Prevention Award, honoring an individual who exemplifies excellence in suicide prevention in Tennessee. The Tullises make an annual contribution to TSPN in honor of this individual.