What is suicide?
Suicide occurs when a person ends their life. It is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans. In Tennessee, suicide results in more than 900 deaths each year. For young Tennessee adults 15 to 24 years of age, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death and the 2nd leading cause of death for adults 25-34. However, suicide deaths are only part of the problem. More people survive suicide attempts than actually die. They are often seriously injured and need medical care.
Suicide is recognized as a chronic epidemic, despite the overwhelming numbers, the tragedy of suicide is hidden by stigma, myth and shame. The stigma surrounding suicide often has an impact on prevention and intervention efforts. Additionally, many people have the mistaken notion that talking about suicide causes it to happen but experts agree that suicide is preventable.
Who’s at risk?
There is no typical suicide victim. No age group, ethnicity, or background is immune. Fortunately, many troubled individuals display behaviors deliberately or inadvertently signal their suicidal intent. Recognizing the warning signs and learning what to do next may help save a life.
The Warning Signs
The following behavioral patterns may indicate possible risk for suicide and should be watched closely. If they appear numerous or severe, seek professional help at once. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Talking about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities
- Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss
- Experience or fear of a situation of humiliation of failure
- Drastic changes in behavior
- Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
- Giving away prized possessions
- 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
- Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
- General hopelessness
- Recent experience humiliation or failure
- Unwillingness to connect with potential helpers
Jason Flatt Act
In 2007, Tennessee was the first state in the U.S. to pass the Jason Flatt Act to become a national leader with regard to Teacher’s In-Service Training for youth suicide awareness and prevention. Also, the Jason Foundation provides programs for students, parents, educators/coaches, and others that include: seminars, on-line training, school curricula, faith based programs, and more. To access these Jason Foundation resources, click here.
Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network offers resources and training for suicide prevention. For detailed information about TSPN suicide facts, services, resources, and training opportunities, visit www.tspn.org.
Looking for help
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).