General Assembly reviews Suicide Prevention Act of 2018

Staff Reports • Mar 8, 2018 at 3:07 PM

NASHVILLE – The 2018 Status of Suicide in Tennessee highlighted an increase in suicides among young people 10-18 years old in the state, with one person in the age group lost to suicide each week.

The report provided state legislators, mental health professionals and the general public with information on the problem of suicide in Tennessee and what is being done to prevent it.

Each year’s edition includes a detailed report on suicide trends within Tennessee, both overall and for various subgroups, and features the latest statistics available from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year’s report used statistics from 2016.

The report also showed adults in midlife and older adults remained at higher risk with one person older than 45 who commits suicide each day.

The Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Heath Statistics said there were 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in 2016, up from 1,065 the past year. Guns remained the most common means of suicide death in Tennessee, accounting for 677, or 61 percent, of the recorded deaths in 2016. White people account for 79 percent of the general population of Tennessee but 91 percent of the suicide deaths. Men are also disproportionately represented, making up 49 percent of the population but 77 percent of the suicide deaths recorded in 2016.

The Suicide Prevention Act of 2018 is a bill currently under review in the Tennessee legislature. If passed, the bill would set up a team to review existing programs and resources and identify opportunities to improve data collection and analysis and programs. Recommendations would be made to the General Assembly by June 2020.

Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network executive director Scott Ridgway applauded state Sen. Rusty Crowe’s leadership and thanked the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for passing the bill.

“I am excited about the potential for this bill,” he said. “Reviewing numbers and other information on suicides in Tennessee will enhance TSPN’s strategic outreach efforts to be able to better prevent the tragedy of suicide in Tennessee. One suicide is one too many.”

The complete county suicide numbers and rates for the last 10 years are available on the TSPN website.

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