TN suicide rates, a cause for concern

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – “The majority of teenagers and young adults are not dying by motor vehicles they’re not dying by accidents they’re dying from suicide and from overdose deaths,” Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Southeast Vice Chair Eve Nite said.

Newly released numbers from the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network show suicide deaths increased four percent from 2015 to 2016, and in 2016, the rates were the highest recorded in Tennessee in over 35 years.

“We’ve seen a steady increase over the last 35 years since we’ve been monitoring suicide, but most definitely there’s cause for concern that we’ve seen such a dramatic increase especially among teens and adolescents,” Nite said.

Tennessee recorded 1,110 suicide deaths in 2016.

The rate stayed above the national average.

Suicides increased in kids ages 10-18, with one dying every week.

“In Hamilton County especially since we are a metro area we do unfortunately see an increase among teens and adolescents,” Nite said

Something else concerning, Nite said they’re also seeing an increase in use of firearms which could a be contributing factor to increasing numbers.

She added that it’s important to take seriously anyone expressing intent to disappear or die, especially with adolescents that tend to lack impulse control.

“It’s really important that when someone expresses that intent that one they don’t have access to lethal means so even if it’s just for the next 24 hours you’re locking up your handguns and then contacting a professional,” Nite said.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide there is hope and help.

In Tennessee treatment is effective 90 percent of the time.

Contact the suicide prevention lifeline to get local help anytime of the day.

The lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website:

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Local News

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