Suicide rates are on the rise across the United States according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Tennessee, rates of this cause of death have climbed 24 percent from 1999 to 2016 and now labeled as a major public health issue.
Researchers working on the report have found that, “more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.”
Suicide is associated with many risk factors including triggers of depression, anxiety, mental illness, health conditions and substance abuse.
Warning Signs of Suicide:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.
Social media has allowed a different type of communication. These platforms allow for the publishing of the best experiences, positive aspects and photos. The perception that a person is happy based on scrolling through social media accounts is not an accurate portrayal of what the individual is really feeling.
Platforms like Facebook have been working on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that elevates possible suicidal threats. A community operations team and the AI team system work 24/7 to flag and investigate concerning posts. Facebook has released suicide prevention guidelines for reporting this type of content here. Instagram also allows for the reporting of threats here. Twitter has informed users about how to report self-harm and suicide here.
What can you do to help?
- Always call 911 first if you are a threat to yourself or others
- Speak to your family, friends and loved ones. Have a conversation and really ask how they are feeling. Listen and offer assistance when needed
- Seek help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. This is a confidential phone call offering emotional support 24-hours a day, 7-days a week
- Text TN to 741-741 to reach the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, a crisis text line that offers free 24/7 text messaging support for people in crisis.
- Lifeline web chat as a service of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Conversations online are free and confidential
- Text TALK to 741741. You are able to text with a crisis counselor about any painful issue which you need support for
- Visit the Mental Health Association fo East Tennessee’s website for a full list of crisis services.
- Receive certification in Mental Health First Aid. The 8-hour-long course teaches individuals how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. Find a course here