More people die by suicide each year than from homicide, AIDS or motor vehicle accidents. Suicide is the leading cause of violent deaths in the state, nationally and worldwide, far above homicide and death due to natural disasters.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth and young adults 15-24 years olf in Tennessee and for the United States at large. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 1,065 recorded suicide deaths in the state in 2015, at a rate of 16.1 per 100,000 population.
In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either sex, any race or ethnicity and any economic status. The average suicide death leaves behind six survivors – family and friends of the deceased – all of who are at increased risk for a suicide attempt themselves. As if the emotional and psychological toll were not enough, suicide and suicide attempts cost the state of Tennessee $1 billion a year in medical treatment, lost wages, and lost productivity.
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network and its allies in the public health, mental health, and social service fields joined forces to recognize the month of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During the annual observance, TSPN and its allies arrange several educational and memorial events across Tennessee. These projects help teach the general public about the problem of suicide and how it can be prevented. They also give us an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide; to encourage survivors of suicide, survivors of suicide attempts, and people who have triumphed over mental illness; and to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to suicide prevention efforts in the state.
As part of the observance, TSPN’s annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Day event is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. at Trevecca Community Church at 335 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville. TSPN will unveil its latest “Love Never Dies” Memorial Quilt, part of an ongoing effort to personalize the problem of suicide. This year’s quilt will the largest TSPN has ever presented. Deputy Gov. Jim Henry and Marie Williams, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, will join an estimated 300 mental health advocates and survivors of suicide loss.
Details about the Suicide Prevention Awareness Day observance and other events planned across the state will be announced at tspn.org. Additional information about Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is available from the TSPN central office at 615-297-1077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.