Statistics show that each day we lose three Tennesseans to suicide, now the ninth leading cause of death in Tennessee. In 2017, there were 142 youth deaths by suicide, representing the 10-24 age group, with 51 of those representing children between the ages of ten to seventeen. Suicide by children increased by 24.4 percent from 2016 to 2017, and more alarmingly, suicide by children increased by 54.5 percent from 2015 to 2017.

   “One death by suicide is one death too many,” said Scott Ridgway, Executive Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN). “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 there were 1,163 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2017, up from 1,110 the previous year. 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 within Tennessee, both overall and by age, race, gender, and geography. The complete report is available on the TSPN website at http://tspn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/TSPN-Status-of-Suicide-2019.pdf.

   For every number and rate that is provided in the “2019 Status of Suicide in Tennessee” report, a family member, loved one, neighbor, co-worker, and friend suffers an unimaginable loss. To learn how to get involved with TSPN or to request suicide prevention training, visit their website at http://tspn.org/.

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