State suicide trends detailed in report

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) has published its Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 report, detailing suicide trends and prevention efforts in Tennessee.

The current report includes a summary of suicide trends within Tennessee, both overall and for various subgroups.

In 2011, the latest year for which state-specific figures are available, Tennessee’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths.

This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000 as reported for the year 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rates among teens and older adults, both groups traditionally at high suicide risk, remain stable. White males aged 35-64 account for the largest share of suicide deaths, and suicide rates are higher for white males across their lifespan.

Attention is also given to the nature of non-fatal versus fatal attempts and common suicide methods — almost two-thirds of all suicides in Tennessee involve a firearm.

“At least 150 Tennesseans who deeply care about suicide prevention are meeting monthly to raise their own suicide awareness and to implement activities that educate their communities about suicide. They are also working together to apply the Tennessee Strategies for Suicide Prevention,” observes TSPN Advisory Council Chair Jennifer Harris. “The maintenance and growth of the regional and county efforts should inspire all of us.”

The document also includes a summary of common suicide risk factors and an account of TSPN’s suicide prevention projects. The report concludes with a listing of suicide numbers and rates for all 95 Tennessee counties for the years 2006 through 2011.

All over the state, TSPN offers presentations and training sessions for school, churches, and civic groups and partnerships with state departments and other non-profits. TSPN also networks with and faith-based groups to implement suicide prevention strategies; debriefs schools and other institutions affected by suicide death; and promotes awareness and educational events across the state of Tennessee.

“Of course, our work here is hardly finished,” adds TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgeway. “Our goal is not merely fewer suicides, it is zero suicides. Suicide remains a major and tragic threat to middle-aged adults in our state. The ebb of the Middle East conflicts means more soldiers will be trying to reconcile their wartime experiences with civilian life. We hope to ensure that those who have served their country will get the help they need.

“We hope that the Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 report will inspire everyone to join us in the ongoing effort to make zero suicides not just an objective, but a reality for the people of our state.

Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 will be published online via the TSPN website www.tspn.org.

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