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Mental Health America of the MidSouth

Statewide Director of TN Suicide Prevention Network

Mental Health America of the MidSouth


Job Summary

Mental Health America of the MidSouth (MHA) is seeking an executive director in suicide prevention to take the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) to the next level.  This position will supervise a Deputy Director and up to 10 staff across 9 statewide regions, oversee several suicide prevention task forces (i.e., veterans, farmers, first responders, etc.), regularly communicate and collaborate with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), manage an advisory council and large volunteer base, and regularly serve as a speaker and thought leader who advocates for suicide prevention.

Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in Tennessee, and it is the leading cause of death among adolescents.  The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) exists as a contractual relationship between the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) and Mental Health America of the MidSouth (MHA), the grantee.  TSPN is a statewide network of stakeholders and volunteers, who work together to implement the Tennessee’s strategic suicide prevention initiatives.  The governor-appointed advisory council provides valuable input and serves as key implementers across Tennessee’s nine regional territories.  

Job Responsibilities


  • Serve as part of the MHA leadership team that includes CEO, COO, CFO, and Program Manager
  • Lead, support, and delegate to 11 TSPN staff across Tennessee
  • Serve as the voice and lead advocate of suicide prevention throughout Tennessee
  • Collaborate with TDMHSAS in identifying needs, developing strategic objectives to reduce suicide, engaging community leaders and volunteers on suicide prevention, measuring and reporting outcomes, etc.
  • Use data to inform change utilizing the public health approach.
  • Collaborate with behavioral health coalitions, partnering agencies, community task forces, advisory council, volunteers, and other groups
  • Implement and report results from evidence-based trainings on suicide prevention
  • Implement and report results from prevention, intervention, and “postvention” (i.e., post-suicide debriefings) programs
  • Publish the annual State of Suicide Prevention report
  • Attend annual national suicide prevention conference and grantee meetings
  • Serve as the media spokesperson and thought leader for suicide prevention in Tennessee
  • Represent other MHA programming efforts at appropriate meetings, coalitions, and events.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a social service (i.e., psychology, public health, social work, etc.), Master’s degree preferred
  • Minimum of five years of suicide prevention or crisis services experience
  • Ability to delegate to Regional Directors, advisory council, co-workers, and volunteers
  • Excellent oratory and presentation skills to large and small audiences
  • Proven written skills in grant writing, grant reporting, news articles, journal publications, research, or similar technical writing
  • Working knowledge and strong proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Working knowledge or certifications in evidence-based curriculum such as QPR, ASIST, AMSR, SAFE, etc.
  • Ability to work with and communicate to state department leaders, political leaders, veterans, lay people, coalitions and partnering agencies, persons who have attempted suicide, and survivors of suicide
  • Work hand-in-hand with MHA’s Program Manager, who oversees all other MHA programs and services:  school-based mental health program, aging & Alzheimer’s program, mental health screenings, continuing education workshops, Mental Health First Aid, mental health assistance center, multicultural outreach program (including human trafficking recovery), etc.

Additional Information


This is a full-time position that requires regular travel and some nights/weekends.  The start date may not be later than April 1, 2020.  The salary range is $60,000 – $75,000 (depending on degree and experience) plus full-time benefits: employee health, dental, and vision insurance; long-term disability policy and life insurance, 403-B retirement plan with match (currently 6% match), mileage reimbursement at the state-approved rate (currently $0.47 per mile), generous paid time off (PTO), and access to additional benefits such as Ascend FCU, Aflac policies, etc.

How to Apply

To apply, send cover letter, resume, and three reference names/emails to Jackie Cavnar, COO, at  References will not be contacted until after an initial interview.  Due to the expected application volume, only the top candidates will receive communication regarding receipt of application materials and possible interview.


  • Date Posted: January 14, 2020
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Health (Physical, Mental)
  • Start Date: 04/01/2020
  • Salary Range: $60,000-$75,000
  • Working Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm