September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 1:53 pm
By: Scott Ridgway, Special to The Press
In Tennessee, an estimated 800 men, women, and children die by suicide each year. More people die by suicide each year than from homicide, AIDS, or drunk driving. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among youth and young adults ages 15-24 in Tennessee and throughout the entire nation.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 965 recorded suicide deaths in our state, at a rate of 15.7 per 100,000 people.
Both this number and the rate are the highest ever recorded for Tennessee. The last national rankings, published in 2007 by the American Association of Suicidology, placed Tennessee at 20th in the nation for suicides.
In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either gender, 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.
TSPN, along with other state and civic agencies, are joining forces to recognize the month of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
The highlight of this observance will be our Suicide Prevention Awareness Day observance, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 14 at Trevecca Community Church, located at 335 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville. Deputy Gov. Claude Ramsey will present a formal proclamation from the office of Gov. Bill Haslam declaring September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This event will also include the dedication of two new “Love Never Dies” Memorial Quilts.
These quilts feature panels submitted by survivors of suicide, featuring pictures of their loved ones. The quilts are routinely exhibited at suicide prevention and mental health awareness events across the state, and have done much to put a human face on the problem of suicide, helping people look past both the stigma and the statistics.
More information about local and statewide Suicide Prevention Awareness Month events are available on the TSPN website, www.tspn.org. Additional information on these events and TSPN is available from the TSPN central office at (615) 297-1077.
Editor’s note: Scott Ridgway, MS, is executive director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
Scott Ridgway, Suicide Prevention