Reporter Tom Pappert: Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Connection to Covenant Killer Is the Most Significant Revelation of Entire Case

Tom Pappert MPL

Tom Pappert, lead reporter at The Tennessee Star, said he believes Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) connection to Audrey Elizabeth Hale, the Covenant School killer, is the “biggest part” of the unraveling story.

On June 7, The Star was the first to report that Hale was a 22-year patient of VUMC from 2001 until the time of the horrific school shooting on March 27, 2023.

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Commentary: Nashville Shooter’s Manifesto Released Despite FBI Resistance

The 2023 Nashville Covenant School murders understandably received massive news coverage when they occurred. The fight over obtaining the murderer’s diary also received news attention. But when “nearly four dozen pages” of the murderer’s diary were finally released last week, the mainstream media completely ignored it. It turns out that behind the scenes, the FBI had fought hard against the diary’s release. Some Covenant School parents also opposed releasing the diary because it would force families to re-live the nightmare. The Tennessee Star’s parent company, Star News Digital Media, successfully filed two lawsuits to obtain the diary.

Five days after the release of the diary, with the exception of the New York Post, which is a national news outlet, the news coverage was limited to seven other conservative outlets such as The Daily Wire and Newsbusters.

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Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary Details Importance of Bill that Tightened Duty to Report Law

Jason Zachary

Tennessee State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) suggested his bill that strengthened the state’s duty to report law may have prevented the Covenant School shooting on March 27, 2023 in Nashville if implemented before the shooting took place.

Over the weekend, The Tennessee Star reported it was provided the name of the psychologist who was reportedly part of the care team for Covenant School killer Audrey Elizabeth Hale.

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Reporter Matt Giffin Recounts Being the Sole Reporter at Federal Hearing in Case of Transgender Alleged Cyberstalker McKenzie McClure

Matthew Giffin

Matt Giffin, reporter at The Tennessee Star, said he was the sole reporter that attended the federal hearing on Monday in the case of transgender alleged cyberstalker McKenzie McClure, who was ordered by the federal district court judge to be temporarily released to a residential mental health facility rather than stay in federal custody.

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Michael Patrick Leahy: New Covenant Killer Investigation Revelation That ‘There Was a Failure to Report’ and ‘Massive Failure of the Mental Health System’ of ‘Epic Proportions’ Highlights Public Interest in Release of Documents

Michael Patrick Leahy, editor-in-chief and CEO of The Tennessee Star, dissected a critical revelation in the case of The Covenant School shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who took six lives last year at the Nashville school.

Hale, who identified as transgender, shot and killed three adults and three students at The Covenant School in Nashville on March 27, 2023.

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Activists Sheila Matthews and Amy Miller Detail Legislative Win on Tennessee Bill to Help Determine Link Between Mental Health Drugs and Mass Shooters


Sheila Matthews, co-founder of the national non-profit parent organization AbleChild, and activist Amy Miller with the Reform Pharma initiative of Children’s Health Defense, detailed the progress a bill that would help determine the link between Big Pharma drugs and mass shooters has made in the Tennessee General Assembly since its introduction.

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Mom Sues School District for Socially Transitioning 12-Year-Old Girl Without Parental Consent

Sad Person

A New York school district socially transitioned a girl without her mother’s consent, repeatedly lying to the mother about the child’s mental health and social struggles, according to a new lawsuit.

Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Jennifer Vitsaxaki of New York filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Skaneateles Central School District and Board of Education, accusing them of violating her constitutional rights through their deception and their social transitioning of her 12-year-old daughter, Jane.

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Religious Communities Coped Better During COVID-19 Pandemic, Studies Show

People Praying

Religious communities in the United States and the United Kingdom were less depressed during the COVID-19 pandemic, two recent studies found.

University of Cambridge researchers conducted two studies, one in the U.S. and the other in the U.K., on the mental health and overall happiness of religious and non-religious individuals in 2020 and 2021, according to a Tuesday announcement. The research found that religion acted as a boost for both Americans and the British alike, with the risk of mental health worsening by 60% during the pandemic for U.S. citizens who were or knew someone diagnosed with COVID-19 if they professed to be non-religious.

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Virginia Right Help, Right Now Program Exceeds Expectations, Committee Learns

John Littel

In the first meeting of the Senate Education and Health Committee for the 2024 legislative session, Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel spoke to the committee, reviewing the department’s current priorities and progress.

A little over a year into the governor’s Right Help, Right Now plan, designed to help address the national mental health crisis as it has manifested in the commonwealth, the program has exceeded expectations in some areas.

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Virginia Department of Education Creates Behavioral Health and Wellness Office as Youngkin Seeks Additional $500 Million in Budget

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) created its new Office of Behavioral Health and Wellness on Friday, and the agency explained it will operate using resources made available by the Right Help, Right Now program created at the behest of Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) last year.

A press release from the Virginia agency explained the new office seeks to “address the unprecedented rise in mental health and behavioral challenges facing Virginia students post pandemic” with what one spokesman called “wraparound services” to keep students emotionally capable of learning in school.

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Commentary: Study Shows Teens with Very Conservative Parents Most Likely to Have Excellent Mental Health

Family Dinner

Adolescents who have “very conservative” parents are 16 to 17 percent more likely to have good or excellent mental health compared to teenagers with liberal parents, according to new research by Gallup.

The fascinating finding was made in June 2023 and features in a comprehensive report published last month by the independent, non-partisan Institute for Family Studies (IFS).

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Tennessee Official Says Anxiety, Depression on the Rise Among Children

An official with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) said in a recent interview that mental illnesses among children are on the rise in the Volunteer State, as the state’s Attorney General works to tackle some of the potential root causes of those illnesses. 

“The data from all sources point to that we see increased sadness and hopelessness among high school students,” TDMHSAS Deputy Commissioner Matthew Yancey told WKRN. “We’ve seen increases in emergency room presentations related to psychiatric emergencies, increases in suicidal ideation.”

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Mental Health Issues on the Rise in America

Several new studies show that mental health issues are rising in America, contributing to an overall decline in the quality of life, as well as an increase in premature deaths.

As reported by Axios, a study was published last week in JAMA Health Forum, a publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association, saw that in overdose deaths in the United States from 2000 to 2021, a key factor was the education levels of the victims.

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Study Finds Use of Contraceptive Pill from Young Age Increases Risk of Depression in Women by up to 130 Percent

A study from the UK finds women who began using the combined contraceptive pill as teenagers increased their risk of depression by 130 percent, while those who began to use the contraceptive in their 20s or older showed a 92 percent increased risk of depressive symptoms.

The population-based cohort study that utilized data from more than 250,000 UK Biobank women was published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences and online by Cambridge University Press.

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Study Finds Abortion in First Pregnancy Linked to Increased Risk of Later Mental Health Problems

While a common abortion industry narrative claims restrictions on abortion cause mental health harms to women, a new study has found that abortion during a first pregnancy is associated with a greater incidence of mental health problems after the procedure than giving birth.

The study, conducted by Dr. James Studnicki, vice president and director of data analytics at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), and his colleagues, was published at the International Journal of Women’s Health.

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Vanderbilt Researchers Granted NIH Funds to Study Children’s Mental Health

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have been granted $3.2 million from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to research children’s mental health, according to the university. 

“A four-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will support the research of Carolyn Heinrich, University Distinguished Professor of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, and Melinda Buntin, University Distinguished Professor of Health Policy, into how school-based health interventions affect children’s mental health and education outcomes,” Vanderbilt announced last month. “Schools are serving children with ever-increasing mental health needs, which were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. public schools serve as the primary entry point to mental health services for children, and school-based health centers, or SBHCs, increasingly are a ‘medical home’ for vulnerable children.”

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Virginia Legislation Introduced to Help Navy Sailors Combat Mental Health Issues

A group of Virginia bipartisan congressional leaders are leading the charge with legislation to improve access to mental health services and reduce suicides among Navy sailors.

Reps. Jennifer Kiggans, Rob Wittman, Bobby Scott and Jennifer McClennan are leading efforts to increase access to mental health resources while requiring mental health screenings for sailors on limited duty, entitled the Sailor Standard Care Act.

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‘Faith and Wellness’ Report Finds 99 Percent of Evangelicals Believe Prayer and Active Faith Contribute to Positive Mental Health

Nearly 100 percent of evangelical Protestants believe that prayer, reading the Bible, and living out a strong Christian faith impact mental health in a positive way, says a report released Thursday by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research.

Noting that rarely is any group of people, including evangelical Protestants, in nearly entire agreement, Infinity Concepts, a self-described “integrated marketing-communications agency inspiring people of faith to action,” and Grey Matter Research, a consulting firm that specializes in serving Christian organization, say results of the current study is unique.

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Mental Health Better Treated Outside of Pennsylvania Prison, State Says

A significant portion of Pennsylvania’s 38,000 inmates live with a mental health condition, but often don’t belong in prison, state officials say.

Department of Corrections Acting Secretary Laurel Harry told lawmakers this week that 36% of incarcerated men and 66% of women are diagnosed with mental illness – and the state has made significant strides to provide treatment.

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New Study Challenges Supposed Benefits of ‘Social Transition’ for Kids Who Think They’re Trans

A new study out of the U.K. found no significant difference in mental health outcomes between gender dysphoric children who did and did not undergo social transition, the process of changing one’s name, pronouns and clothes to present as the opposite sex.

Therapists often advise social transition as the first course of action for children who believe they’re transgender, viewing the intervention as a harmless and reversible way to explore one’s gender identity while alleviating the anguish of gender dysphoria. There were no significant differences in pathological indicators such as mood disorders, anxiety and suicide attempts between gender dysphoric adolescents who did and didn’t socially transition in the new study, which was published Tuesday in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

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Governor Lee Amends Proposed Legislation, FY23-24 Budget to Accommodate Stronger Measures to Strengthen School Safety

One week after the school shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that left six dead, Governor Bill Lee proposed additional actions to strengthen safety at public and private schools across Tennessee, including amending the budget for fiscal year 2023-2034 as well as an existing bill making its way through the state legislature.

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Attorney General Skrmetti on TikTok’s Refusal to Provide Documents: If a Company’s Behavior Is Sufficiently Egregious, State Law ‘Allows Me to Ask a Court to Ban That Company from Ever Doing Business in Tennessee Again’

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti to the newsmaker line to discuss the amicus brief filed against Chinese-owned TikTok and the possibility of litigation that could outlaw its platform in the state.

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Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti to Host Town Hall Meetings Across Tennessee Focusing on Big Tech’s Impact on Children

To learn more about the problems residents have encountered regarding the negative effects of social media on kids, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office announced that it will host three town hall meetings across the state this month.

The town hall meetings come as Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is leading a 50-state coalition in putting together a case investigating certain Big Tech companies. Skremtti told The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy that these town hall meetings will focus on “the effects of social media on kids and the mental health impact of social media on teenagers.”

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Explosion of Mental Health, Academic Problems Among Minnesota Students

Results of the 2022 Minnesota Student Survey have revealed that increasing numbers of middle and high school students are struggling with depression, anxiety, and poor “educational engagement.”

Conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) every three years, the anonymous survey asks fifth-, eighth-, ninth-, and 11th-grade students various questions about their physical and mental health, bullying, school environment, and alcohol and drug use.

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Gallup: Americans Report Mental Health at New Lows with Young Adults Ranking Worst

Americans are rating their mental health at an all-time low, including nearly one-in-five young adults who describe their mental health as “poor,” according to a new poll released Wednesday. 

Overall, three-fourths of Americans say their mental health is “good” or “excellent,” which is the lowest number on record for Gallup. The polling outlet has conducted an annual mental health survey since 2001. In 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, 85% of Americans described their mental health as good or excellent.

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Yale Allegedly Pressured Students with ‘Mental Health’ Issues to Quit Class, Leave School, Lawsuit Claims

Yale University allegedly discriminated against students hospitalized for a mental illness by threatening to unenroll them from courses, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Yale students and alumni.

The lawsuit, filed by Yale’s mental health advocacy group Elis for Rachel and two current students, claims that university officials visited students who were hospitalized for attempted suicide and pressured them to withdraw from classes. The plaintiffs also allege the administrators threatened to forcibly unenroll them if they refused to withdraw voluntarily.

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WhistlePig and Brothers Osborne Release Limited Edition Whiskey

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – WhistlePig Whiskey and Grammy Award-winning country music duo and reigning CMA Duo of the Year Brothers Osborne are celebrating 100 for all, all for 100 this holiday season with the launch of their new whiskey collaboration. The WhistlePig PiggyBack Legends Series: Brothers Osborne Barrel is a single barrel, limited-edition 100% Rye Whiskey, created for and selected by John and TJ Osborne, to celebrate those who give 100% in the name of greatness.

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Study: Transgender Industry’s ‘Transition or Die’ Youth Suicide Narrative ‘Factually Inaccurate and Ethically Fraught’

A recent study finds the often “inaccurate” and “incomplete” informed consent process engaged in by transgender industry clinicians is propped up by the activist “alarmist” narrative whereby parents are told their failure to approve their child’s transgender medical treatments could likely result in his or her suicide.

In the study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Dr. Stephen B. Levine, of the Department of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, and his colleagues note the “unprecedented rise in the numbers of children and adolescents seeking gender transition” in under a decade.

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Study: Teen Cannabis Use Increases, Mental Health Declines in States with Fewer Legal Restrictions

States that have legalized marijuana have seen increasingly strong THC products and a rise in mental health issues among teenagers, a newly released nationwide study reports.

The Drug Free America Foundation authored the study, given first to The Center Square, which reports on “an association between adolescent cannabis use, the use of high potency cannabis products, and increased risk of psychosis.”

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DeWine to Ohio Superintendents: $100 Million Budgeted for School Safety Grants

Ohio schools will receive $100 million in total to purchase security equipment as part of the next round of K-12 School Safety Grants, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) wrote to superintendents on Friday.

The allocations, which come as a part of the state’s capital budget bill that DeWine signed into law last week, will go toward purchases such as outdoor lighting, facility-mapping software, school-radio systems, door-locking technology and visitor-badge systems. The Ohio School Safety Center in Columbus is now drafting the application for schools to access this money and expects to soon start the application process.

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‘Sexualization of Children’: Feminists Join Christian Conservatives to Stop Biden LGBTQ Order

President Biden has strengthened the growing coalition between social conservatives and gender-critical feminists against transgender ideology by issuing an executive order on “advancing equality” for people who are not heterosexual or don’t identify with their sex.

While they disagree on abortion rights and same-sex attraction, this ideological odd couple shares common ground on the primacy of sex-based rights, the harm of pornography and even the “sexualization of children” through exposure to adult themes such as drag.

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Schools See Rise in Students Seeking Mental Health Assistance After COVID

Over three-fourths of American public schools have reported a rise in the number of students seeking mental health assistance in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As reported by Fox News, the data was released on Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which operates under the guidance of the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The report shows that 76 percent of public schools saw staff express concerns about the mental health of their students, including depression, anxiety, and trauma since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020.

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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: Greater School Security Not Something Biden ‘Believes In’ Since ‘The Problem Is with Guns’

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday Joe Biden has no interest in Republican proposals that focus on “hardening schools,” i.e., installing greater security and safety measures, because “the problem is with guns.”

Asked if she could elaborate on Biden’s promise to meet with members of Congress on new gun laws, Jean-Pierre said  gun violence is an “epidemic” across the country.

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Commentary: Red Flag Laws and Unintended Consequences

The senseless murder of 19 children and two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is leading to calls for more gun control. To some, “red flag” laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, seem like the obvious solution. These laws allow judges to seize a person’s guns without a trial, based solely on a written complaint that the person might be a danger to themselves or others. All a judge needs is “reasonable suspicion.”

“We know that we can show we can be united to protect our children,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, a famously moderate West Virginia Democrat.

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CDC Study: Remote Learning Hurt Kids’ Mental Health

When schools pivoted to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the first casualty was kids’ mental health.

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed teenagers’ mental health from January 2021 to June 2021. Compared with 2019, the study found that the proportion of mental health–related emergency department visits in 2020 increased by about 31% among kids aged 12–17 years.

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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Awards $15 Million to Schools for Mental Health Initiative

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday awarded $15 million to schools throughout the state for a new mental health initiative.

The “Get Kids Ahead Initiative” will utilize the money to “provide direct mental healthcare, hire and support mental health navigators, provide mental health first aid and trauma-based care training, or provide family assistance programs.”

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Michigan Joins Bipartisan Investigation into Social Media App TikTok

Michigan’s Secretary of State Thursday announced that the state will join a bipartisan investigation into popular Chinese-owned social media company TikTok.

“Recent reports on social media’s impact on the mental and physical health of young people raise serious questions among attorneys general across the nation. Ultimately, we are concerned about protecting our youth,” Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said in a press release. “I am proud to join my colleagues in this investigation. Given this is an ongoing investigation, I will not be discussing any details beyond this announcement.” 

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Vanderbilt Concerned After Uptick in Suicide Among Medical Students

Woman in lab coat looking through microscope

Vanderbilt University is concerned after four of its medical school students have committed suicide in less than two years. 

“Vanderbilt University is committed to a culture of caring in which the well-being of all community members—our extraordinary students, the faculty who teach them, and the staff who play an immeasurable role in the success of this remarkable university—is enhanced and supported,” Vanderbilt said in a statement. “We strive to foster a culture of openness through brave dialogue, honest self-reflection, and willingness to invest in this incredible university by investing first in the mental health and wholeness of every member of the Vanderbilt family.”

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Connecticut Governor’s Lifting of School Mask Mandate Depends on Legislature Voting to Extend His Emergency Powers

Connecticut children cannot be certain they can finally be free of wearing masks in school since, although Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said he would end the state school mask mandate by February 28, that plan may depend on the legislature voting to extend his pandemic emergency powers, and then on individual school districts.

In his State of the State address Wednesday, Lamont told residents he will roll back some coronavirus restrictions, including the school mask mandate, adding, “You have earned this freedom.”

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