“Every day we lose at least one person over the age of 45.” -CDC Trends in State Suicide Rates Report
By Tamas Mondovics
News of well-known and influential members of the entertainment world committing suicide provided no shortage of headlines in recent weeks.The tragedies also prompted some to wonder about the prevalence of such tragic but considered by some as selfish acts that leave many loved ones heartbroken and confused with much to deal with both physically and emotionally. To put things in perspective as well as to join the dialog, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) respond to the recent report through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on “Trends in State Suicide Rates – United States, 1999-2016, and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide.” Sadly, in part TSPN emphasized that in any given day, three people in Tennessee die by suicide.
In its released response to the recent news of celebrity suicides, TSPN stated that in 2016, the number of suicides increased in young people (ages 10-18) in Tennessee, with one person in this age group lost to suicide every week. “We lose one person between the ages of 10-24 every four days, and every day we lose at least one person over the age of 45, with adults in midlife and older adults remaining at higher risk,” the release said.
The report continued, “While suicide rates in Tennessee went up only slightly in 2016 from 2015, the new figures are the highest recorded in Tennessee in more than 35 years of record-keeping. TSPN wishes to praise efforts taking place in Tennessee toward suicide prevention.”
Suicide is reportedly determined by multiple factors, including mental illness and prior suicide attempts, access to lethal means, poor coping and problem-solving skills, as well as social and economic problems.In the release TSPN’s Executive Director, Scott Ridgway, MS, highlighted that the number one risk factor for suicide is undiagnosed depression. Tennessee Governor Haslam’s Administration and his team are reportedly credited with dedicating funding to the Office of the Deputy Medical Examiner to enable Medical Examiners Tennessee to utilize updated reporting technologies as well as receive more information of suicide and training, leading to better reporting. It is said that more than 50 percent of suicides are firearm related.
With the recent press surrounding celebrity deaths by suicide, TSPN is urging all to talk openly and safely about suicide and suicide prevention resources and is recommending that “all familiarize themselves with the warning signs of suicide at http://tspn.org/warning-signs) so they can get help for themselves and those around them as needed. TSPN is also available to provide free suicide prevention or awareness training across the state; to request a training visit our website (http://tspn.org/request-training-now).
TSPN and all Tennesseans must recognize that we have our work cut out for us moving forward to better prevent suicide. Ridgway notes that “if we are really going to address the issue of suicide in Tennessee, we need additional funding in our state devoted specifically to suicide prevention efforts.”
For non-emergency information on suicide prevention, contact the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at (615) 297-1077 or [email protected] More information about TSPN is available at the agency website (www.tspn.org).