Suicide Prevention Month
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network works diligently to raise awareness, offer support, and host events to shed light on the issue at hand. In any given year, Tennessee loses more than 1,100 men, women, and children to suicide, more than are lost to homicide, drunk driving, or AIDS.
Suicide affects people from all walks of life; it is not limited to any particular age group, race, income level, or geographic area. The stigma attached to suicide and mental illness prevents them from talking about their uniquely painful ordeal. This is why suicide is often called the silent epidemic — it happens everywhere, but very few people are willing to talk about it.
Every year during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, TSPN launches a series of memorial and awareness events across the state designed to raise awareness of the problem of suicide and help people talk more about it. Candid discussion about suicide is the most important contribution we can make towards fighting “the silent epidemic”. One of those events includes the East Regional Event called “Zoom In, Zoom Out“. This event includes a showing of the film “Scattering CJ” and three discussions from local community members focusing on the themes from the film: positive impacts of social media, stigma surrounding mental health and suicide, and resilience. We hope you can join us for that event!
Aside from regional or statewide events, it is vital that everyone knows the warning signs of suicide. The best opportunity we have to get someone struggling to resources that will help long-term can come from a difficult conversation, a friend reaching out, a parent asking their child about suicide, and more. Be aware of any deviation in someone’s typical behavior. Watch out for how someone is talking about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live. Are they preparing for death by making a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements or giving away prized possessions? Other warning signs include previous history of suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility; unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior; loss of interest in personal appearance; unwillingness to connect with potential helpers.
If you or someone you know is in a position needing help, please use the following resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- TN Crisis Line: 855-CRISIS-1
- Crisis Text Line: Text “TN” to 741-741
For more information on anything mentioned, please visit TSPN’s website at tspn.org.
Sarah Walsh is originally from the Indianapolis area, coming to East Tennessee for her undergraduate studies at Milligan College. Sarah graduated in May 2019 with a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she concentrated in Community Health Education, minored in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and earned a Food Safety Certificate. Sarah found her passion of combining education, health, and diseases for under-served or vulnerable populations. Sarah may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (317) 750-6838.