According to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, more than three people in the state of Tennessee die by suicide every day. That’s 21 deaths per week and 97 per month, totaling to more than 1,100 lives lost to suicide in Tennessee each year. Statistics also show that military veterans, those on active duty and members of the National Guards face a disproportionate risk of suicide compared to the general population.
To promote awareness and education around suicide prevention, Covenant Health has joined other organizations throughout Tennessee in recognizing September 2023 as Suicide Prevention Awareness month. Members of Covenant Health’s executive leadership team signed a Covenant Health Suicide Prevention Proclamation Sept 2023 in support of the recognition.
Tennessee is a national leader in the effort to prevent suicide and is one of the first states to develop a suicide prevention and evaluation plan covering all ages. Covenant Health is committed to supporting the work of Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning signs of suicide, and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in the state.
Covenant Health’s behavioral service line provides inpatient and outpatient resources for patients of all ages. The health system actively participates in suicide prevention training and offers psychiatric services, peer support services, free grief support groups across our 25-county service area, and ComPASS support groups for survivors of suicide loss.
Covenant Health’s Parkwest Medical Center helps coordinate the annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, held each November at the hospital.
The staff at Peninsula, a division of Parkwest Medical Center, has completed a series of training modules focusing on various aspects of suicide prevention and been zero-suicide certified since 2016. The staff of Covenant Health of Covenant HomeCare and Hospice also is working to become zero-suicide certified and provides additional staff training in suicide prevention as a crisis-response measure to save lives.
To support students in grades 1-12, Covenant Hospice hosts Katerpillar Kids Camp, held annually for children who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Campers attend free of charge and learn healthy ways to cope with grief through activities including games, art, animal therapy and recreation.
Peninsula and Covenant HomeCare are actively involved in the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council and the Knox Area Mental Health Providers Coalition, initiatives which improve care coordination for those in our community with mental health needs.
Covenant Health provided information for this article.