Suicide prevention takes focus in September

Published 5:23 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Information is key when is comes to tackling the issue of suicide prevention.

For organizations like the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, September proves to be a vital time with Suicide Prevention Awareness Month being recognized across the country.

When it comes to discussing an issue that is typically taboo in communities, getting the word out about suicide is key according to Amy Dolinky.

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“September is an important time for us because this really puts an added focus on the resources that are available,” said Dolinky, TSPN East Tennessee regional coordinator. “Suicide is something that has an impact across the country.”


If the numbers are any indicator, suicides are on the rise across the state.

TSPN recently announced that Tennessee remains above the national average when it comes to rate of suicides.

Scott Ridgway, TSPN executive director, said via email that while the numbers only went up slightly in 2016, the newest figures are the highest recorded in Tennessee during the past 35 years.

The most up-to-date numbers are from 2016. During that year, the number of suicides increased in young people (10-18 years old) with one person being lost in the age group to suicide per week.

“We lose one person between the ages of 10-24 every four days, and every day we lose at least one person over the age of 45, with adults in midlife and older adults remaining at higher risk,” Ridgway said.


Carter County isn’t left out of the grasp of suicide.

According to TSPN information, the East Tennessee region is the area of the state with the highest amount of suicides — the rate was 55.7 percent per 100,000 people that die due to suicide.

Locally, the county saw its number increase to 11 in 2016. The number is up four from 2015 and 2016.

“We see a higher number of suicides in the state coming from our rural areas, more than our urban, city areas,” Dolinky said. “It really comes back to having those discussions. It’s more personal in rural communities. We want to do what we can to encourage family and loved ones to take the steps to receive help.”

Dolinky was quick to praise the city’s efforts of issuing a proclamation to recognize this month as suicide prevention month. On a regional scale, TSPN is hosting a memorial walk on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 9 a.m. to noon at Mountain Home VA in Johnson City to have outreach between families and friends that have been impacted by suicide.


Several resources are available to the general public to help with suicidal concerns.

A 24-7 talk line is available by calling 1-800-273-TALK. Individuals can also text TN to 741741. Dolinky added the text service is completely anonymous and gives residents the chance to talk with someone if they aren’t comfortable doing so over the phone.

Individuals can also visit to learn more. Dolinky said she hopes to see more take part in activities in East Tennessee and stressed the importance of having the community involved in discussions on ways to help address suicide.