As part of this observance, VTVT was joined by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Pastor Larry Trotter as well as mental health advocates, suicide survivors, and those with lived experience at Concord United Methodist Church on September 10th. Click here to view photos of the event.
KNOXVILLE— In Tennessee, an estimated 1000 men, women, and children die by suicide each year. More people die by suicide each year than from homicide, AIDS, or motor vehicle accidents. Suicide is the leading cause of violent deaths in our state, nationally, and worldwide, far above homicide and death due to natural disasters. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth and young adults ages 15-24 in Tennessee and for the United States at large. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 1,163 recorded suicide deaths in our state in 2017, at a rate of 17.3 per 100,000 population. For more data on suicide loss, lived experience, and at-risk groups, review TSPN’s 2019 Status of Suicide (http://tspn.org/sost).
In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either sex, 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.
Vet to Vet Tennessee (VTVT) has partnered with in the public health, mental health, and social service fields to recognize the month of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During this annual observance, VTVT and its allies arrange several educational and memorial events across Tennessee including a Suicide Prevention Bike Rally on September 14th, a Women Veterans Summit on October 3rd, and a suicide prevention play, “Worth It” on November 10th. These projects help teach the general public about the problem of suicide and how it can be prevented as well as unite the community. They also give us an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide; to encourage survivors of suicide, survivors of suicide attempts, and people who have triumphed over mental illness; and to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to suicide prevention efforts in our state.
More information about TSPN is available at the agency website (www.tspn.org). For Veterans, contact Vet to Vet Tennessee at (865) 336-2624.
VTVT is the non-profit organization responsible for implementing programs aimed at spreading awareness of suicide, providing QPR trainings, and many other supportive programs. VTVT and its volunteers work throughout east Tennessee to organize activities & projects promoting suicide prevention.