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SUICIDE ON THE RISE IN TENNESSEE, ACCORDING TO STATE SUICIDE-PREVENTION NETWORK

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Suicide is now the ninth leading cause of death in Tennessee, with an average of three suicides per day. In 2017, there were 142 youth suicides in the 10-to-24 age group; 51 of these were children between the ages of 10 to 17. Childhood suicide increased by 24.4 percent from 2016 to 2017; and, more alarmingly, it increased by 54.5 percent from 2015 to 2017.

“One death by suicide is one death too many,” said Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Executive Director Scott Ridgway. “Given the stark increase in death by suicide among children, we are working with Governor-elect Bill Lee’s transition team to impress the importance of saving all lives in Tennessee and improving our prevention efforts.”

The Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Health Statistics reports 1,163 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2017, up from 1,110 in 2016. The suicide rate increased from 16.7 to 17.3 per 100,000. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in Tennessee during 2014-2016.

Annually, TSPN staff compiles and analyzes the latest statistics available from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The “2019 Status of Suicide in Tennessee” report provides state legislators, mental-health professionals and the general public with information on the problem of suicide in our state and what is being done to prevent it. Each year’s edition includes a detailed report on suicide trends in Tennessee, both overall and by age, race, gender and geography. The complete report is available here: http://tspn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TSPN-Status-of-Suicide-2019.pdf.

As TSPN staff, its many volunteers, and the innumerable suicide-prevention advocates across the state know, Tennessee is a national model with our efforts for suicide prevention. That said, the state must increase its efforts to combat this public-health crisis. For every number and rate provided in the “2019 Status of Suicide in Tennessee” report, a family member, loved one, neighbor, co-worker or friend suffers an unimaginable loss.

To learn how to get involved with TSPN or to request a suicide-prevention training visit http://tspn.org/.

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