Suicide prevention help

Jay FitzBlount, Our Town Health

Tennessee’s suicide statistics trend high­er than the national rate. According to the latest data from the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, an average of three Tennesseans die by suicide every day. In 2019, 1,220 Tennesseans died by suicide; 90 percent of these individuals were white. Firearms were the most common method of suicide death.


Males are three times more likely to die by suicide than females in Tennessee. The most at-risk group is from ages 45 to 64. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death in children and teenagers ages 10- 24. This is more than the combined number of those who die from cancer and heart disease.

Pen­insula Behavioral Health, a long­standing provider of care to those suffering from mental illnesses that lead to suicidal thoughts and threats, offers this advice.

Warning Signs

Here are some common signs that some­one is considering suicide:

  • Threats of suicide or statements reveal­ing a desire to die.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Previous suicide attempts or self-harm.
  • Depression (crying, changes in sleep­ing/eating patterns, hopelessness, loss of interest in hobbies/activities).
  • Making final arrangements (e.g. giving away prized possessions).
  • Drastic changes in personality or be­havior.

If you suspect someone is seriously thinking about ending his or her life, take it seriously.

  • Be available. Listen to what they have to say and show your support and con­cern.
  • Don’t ask why; this causes the person to put up their defenses.
  • Be non-judgmental and offer empathy, not sympathy.
  • If possible, take action and remove ob­jects such as guns or pills that could be used to inflict self-harm.
  • Provide them with resources to get professional help.

To learn more about suicide in Tennes­see and statewide efforts to save lives, visit TSPN.org.

I Need Help Now

If you find yourself in a crisis and struggling with thoughts of suicide, one call or text can bring real help and hope. The statewide crisis line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are open all day, every day. Callers are connected to crisis centers in the areas where they live.

Phone services are free of charge and available to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.

  • For the Crisis Text Line: Text TN to 741741
  • Statewide Crisis Line: 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers a Spanish Language line at 1-888-628-9454.
  • To chat online: SuicidePreventionLifeline.org/Chat
  • Friendship Line for 60+ Adults: 1-800-971-0016

Content provided by the professionals of Peninsula Behavioral Health Center. Info: 865-970-9800.

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