September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Published 7:33 pm Thursday, September 7, 2017

In the hopes of erasing the stigma that comes with discussing suicide, agencies across the state are encouraging individuals to stand up and speak out for help.
According to information provided by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, the state sees an estimated 950 men, women and children die by suicide each year. With September being recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the organization is looking to do its part to help raise awareness for the issue.
Northeast Tennessee isn’t exempt from suicide cases, either. Information received the Tennessee Department of Health from 2015 indicated over 1,065 residents passed away due to suicide with Hancock and Hawkins counties on the upper end of statistical data.
“Our goal is to raise awareness and promote discussion about suicide,” TSPN East Tennessee Regional Coordinator Amy Dolinky told the Elizabethton Star. “It is an uncomfortable topic for some, but we want to end the stigma that comes with talking about suicide and depression. The purpose of this month, and all year, is to continually educate ourselves and the public about how to start a conversation.”
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth and young adults age 15 to 24 in Tennessee and for the United States at large.
With a surprising amount of cases stemming from suicide, TSPN has various activities going on during the month to raise awareness.
One of the campaign’s TSPN is spearheading gets underway Sept. 29. Individuals are encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing turquoise or purple and using the hashtag #SpeakUpSaveLives2017. Dolinky stated there was success during a drive in West Tennessee and hopes to see the same results in the eastern portion of the state, too.
TSPN and local agencies are joining together to help residents. Multiple events are being scheduled, including the TSPN annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Day on Wednesday, Sept. 13. A special event is planned to take place that day at Trevecca Community Church in Nashville starting at 10:30 a.m. where TSPN will unveil the last “Love Never Dies” Memorial Quilt. Dolinky said this year’s quilt will be the largest the organization has ever presented.
Residents can visit for more details about Suicide Prevention Awareness Day observance and other events planned across the state.
Locally, Dolinky added TSPN is looking for more interested volunteers wanting to make an impact locally. Northeast Tennessee chapter of TSPN holds a meeting at Frontier Health’s corporate office the fourth Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey also signed a proclamation in support of the initiative, Dolinky added.
While there won’t be a meeting this month, the coordinator added she could help those wanting to assist. Dolinky can be contacted either via email at or by phone at (847) 309-4340.
Anyone dealing with depression can call 1-800-273-8255 or text “TN” to 741741 to have someone to talk to 24/7. The resources are available free of charge.

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