TSPN announces free text service for mental health, other crises

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Typically taboo, Tennessee continues to take measures to help address the issue of depression and suicide.
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) recently announced their partnership with Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 text-messaging support line, to create a crisis text-line for members of the public with mental health and other crises.
“Not everyone in crisis is comfortable verbalizing their problems or talking to relative strangers on the phone,” TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgeway said in a statement to the Elizabethton Star. “Meanwhile, many teens and young adults — a high-suicide-risk population group — use their phones for texting instead of talking. The Crisis Text Line offers an alternative means of contact for people who might not reach out for help otherwise.”
Users can text the word “TN” to 741741 and connect with a trained crisis counselor that can provide immediate support and referrals not just for suicidal thoughts, but also for anxiety, depression, child and domestic abuse, substance abuse, eating disorders, human trafficking and beyond, according to TSPN.
The new crisis line is a key asset, according to Allison Foster with the Carter County Health Department. Foster serves on the local suicide prevention coalition and stated the new tool will help with the 10-24 year-old age demographic, where the idea of texting is more popular compared to calling.
“I think it’s a great tool,” she said. “Especially for that age group.”
Foster added that data recorded back in 2013 indicated that suicide was the ninth-leading cause of death in the country. The TSPN also provided information noting that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth and young adults ages 15-24 in Tennessee and for the United States. There were 945 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee, at a rate of 14.4 per 100,000 people, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
“It isn’t normally talked about, but it’s out there,” Foster said. “Most of the time, somebody with suicidal thoughts are going through a tough time and just need someone to talk to. It’s a cry of desperation and they need somebody.”
Visit tspn.org for more information on the crisis line and to learn more about suicide in the state of Tennessee.

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