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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, January 19, 2018

Tennessee suicide rate hits record high




New suicide rates in Tennessee are the highest recorded in over 35 years of record-keeping and above the national average.

The Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Health Statistics reports there were 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2016, up from 1,065 the past year, representing a four percent increase.

Firearms remain the most common means of suicide death in Tennessee, accounting for 61 percent of the recorded suicide deaths in 2016. Twenty percent of the deaths were hangings or suffocations and 13 percent were poisonings or overdoses.

Whites account for 79 percent of the general population of Tennessee but 91 percent of the suicide deaths. Males are also disproportionately represented, making up 49 percent of the population but 77 percent of the suicide deaths recorded in 2016.

“We have our work cut out for us,” says Scott Ridgway, executive director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. “Tennessee’s suicide rate and raw number of deaths rose sharply in 2015, and recent statistics indicate a growing problem with suicide among adolescents and preteens.

“Two things give us solace in the face of these developments: without our dedicated involvement, even more people would have been lost; and we have the staff, volunteers, resources and strategy to turn back the tide.

“If we’re really going to address the issue of suicide in Tennessee, we’ll need additional funding devoted to suicide prevention.”

Source: Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Tennessee’s suicide rate hit record high in 2016.

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). This nationwide hotline connects to a network of certified local crisis centers, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In the event of an emergency where someone is in immediate danger of death or injury, call 911.

For non-emergency information and resources about suicide prevention and free training in your area, visit the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network website at www.tspn.org. The site features fact sheets and statistics about suicide, suicide and mental health reading lists and links, and customized local resource directories.