Suicide major cause of death in TN

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Suicide is the ninth-leading cause of death in Tennessee, killing more people on an annual basis than homicide, drunk driving or AIDS.

In Cannon County, reported suicides totaled two in 2008, one in 2009, two in 2010, two in 2011, four in 2012 and one in 2013.

Each year in Tennessee more than 800 people including every age group, race, geographic area, and income level end their lives due to suicide. Tennessee's suicide rate is usually 20 percent higher than the national average. Rural areas of Tennessee generally experience higher suicide rates than metropolitan or urban areas due to lower levels of social integration and reduced availability and access to public and mental health resources.

While all suicide occurs within all age groups, people 65 and older have a suicide rate far above the state average, with the highest rates among those 85 and older.

Untreated depression is the No. 1 cause of suicide.

Friends and family members can make a difference by knowing the signs.

• Threatening or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
• Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
• Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
• Displaying hopelessness
• Expressing rage or uncontrolled anger
• Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
• Expressing feelings of being trapped--like there's no way out
• Increasing alcohol or drug use
• Withdrawing from friends and family
• Exhibiting anxiety and/or agitation
• Experiencing disturbances in sleep patterns (e.g., unable to sleep or sleeping all the time)
• Displaying dramatic mood changes
• Giving away prized possessions
• History of previous suicide attempts or suicidal behaviors

Frequently, suicidal persons:
• Can't stop the pain
• Can't think clearly
• Can't make decisions
• Can't see any way out
• Can't sleep, eat, or work
• Can't get out of the depression
• Can't make the sadness go away
• Can't see the possibility of change
• Can't see themselves as worthwhile
• Can't get someone's attention

Several 24-hour-a day, seven-days-a week crisis services exist in the Woodbury area to help suicidal persons. You can call:

• Toll-Free Adult Statewide Crisis Telephone Line 1-855-CRISIS-1 or (1-855-274-7471)
• The Crisis Line (615) 244-7444 (Entire Middle Tennessee region)
• Youth Villages (children 5-17 only) (866) 791-9221 (Entire Middle Tennessee region)
• Volunteer Crisis Services (18 and older) 800-704-2651 (Upper Cumberland area)

In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room at Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. 615-563-4001

Volunteer Behavioral Health Care Systems (VBHCS) provides a continuum of services to meet the mental health needs of the Upper Cumberland area.

For non-emergency first-time appointments, call (877) 567-6051; for emergencies call (800) 704-2651.

Warning Signs
Threats of suicide or statements revealing a desire to die.
Previous suicide attempts or self harm.
Depression (crying, changes in sleeping/eating patterns, hopelessness, loss of interest in hobbies/activities).
Final arrangements (e.g. giving away prized possessions).
Drastic changes in personality or behavior.

How to Help
Keep calm and take it seriously. Do not minimize the threat or assume it is a joke or a way of getting attention.
Discuss suicide openly and directly.
Listen. Show your support and concern.
If possible, remove objects such as guns or pills that could be used to inflict self harm.
Get professional help.

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