By BROOKE WANSER
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network has released their 2018 “State of Suicide” report, the purpose of which is to educate state legislators, mental health professionals and the general public with information and statistics on suicide.
The Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Health Statistics reported 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2016, up from 1,065 the past year, which represents a 4 percent increase. The suicide rate in Williamson County, per 100,000 residents, is 9.6, lower than neighbor to the north Davidson County, at 16.1.
Statistics highlighted by TSPN include the increase in suicides among young people ages 10 to 18, with one death by suicide in this group each week. Middle-aged adults are the highest-risk group, with one lost to suicide in the state each day.
Firearms continue to be the most common mean of suicide death, accounting for 677, or 61 percent, of the recorded suicide deaths in 2016.
At network events, TSPN volunteers donated 8,903 hours of time across the state during the 2016-17 fiscal year, saving the Tennessee $194,007.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee recently approved legislation to establish a Tennessee Suicide Mortality Data Review and Prevention Team in the Department of Health to address the growing number of suicides in the state.
The Suicide Prevention Act of 2018, sponsored by Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), calls for a team to review existing programs and resources and work to improve data collection and analysis. Recommendations would be made to the general assembly by June 2020.
TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgway applauded Crowe’s leadership and thanked the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for pushing the bill. “I am excited about the potential of this bill,” he said. “Reviewing numbers and other information on suicides in Tennessee will enhance TSPN’s strategic outreach efforts to be able to better prevent the tragedy of suicide in Tennessee. One suicide is one too many”
To read the full report, visit tspn.org.