Supporting Survivors of Suicide in Tennessee

Monday, November 17, 2014 | 10:17am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) joins with survivors of suicide throughout the State of Tennessee and worldwide in recognition of the 2014 International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

“We have lost so many to suicide, too many,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner. “Most notably this year was the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, which has resulted in a tremendous amount of attention and awareness.”

Events in Tennessee to Focus on Grief and Recovery

NASHVILLE: The Jared‘s Keepers Foundation, Inc., a newly established suicide prevention awareness group, is organizing Music City Survivors of Suicide Loss Day from 9 AM to 2 PM, Saturday, November 22, at the Swang Building at Lipscomb University. Learn more at

GERMANTOWN: The Germantown Church of Christ, 8723 Poplar Pike, is hosting an event scheduled from 11 AM to 2:30 PM, Saturday, November 22. Contact Tonia Howell at

“It is important for survivors to connect with each other for support and guidance,” said Scott Ridgway, Executive Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. “Events like these help people recovering from this unique type of loss realize that they are not alone in their struggle.”

In 2013, Suicide Deaths in Tennessee Surpassed 1,000

The Tennessee Department of Health reports there were 1,017 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2013, up from 956 the past year. It marks the 4th consecutive year with an increase in suicides.

International Survivors Day came about following the passage of a bill in the U.S. Congress designating the Saturday before Thanksgiving as National Survivors of Suicide Day. It was through the efforts of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a survivor of his father’s suicide in 1972, which lead to a global day of recognizing suicide survivors.

If you, or someone you know is in emotional distress, contact the Tennessee Toll-Free Statewide Crisis Telephone Line. Trained crisis workers are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for crisis counseling and mental health referrals.

For Help in Tennessee: Call 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471)

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is to plan for and promote the availability of a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation services and supports based on the needs and choices of individuals and families served. For more information, visit

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