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Division of Mental Health Services

Office of Housing and Homeless Services

Suicide Prevention in Tennessee

In Tennessee, an estimated 850 men, women, and youth die by suicide each year—more than the number who die from homicide, AIDS, or drunk driving. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth and young adults ages 10-24 in Tennessee and throughout the entire nation. The rate of suicide in Tennessee is 14.4 per 100,000 individuals, higher than the national average of 10.8 per 100,000 individuals, which unfortunately, places Tennessee’s suicide rate 13th in the nation.

In order to address these negative statistics, Tennessee has become a national leader in suicide prevention, programming, and planning. A defining moment was the development of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network in 2000. TSPN is a coordinated network comprised of eight regional groups throughout the state. Another suicide prevention initiative includes TDMH assisting the Jason Foundation in providing suicide prevention curriculums in many Tennessee schools. Tennessee has also been the host state for the National Suicide and the Black Church conference in Memphis held every two years.

TDMH is the federal grant recipient for the Tennessee Lives Count project which has provided Gatekeeper Training to over 18,000 adults who work with youth at high risk for suicide. Gatekeepers are trained to recognize the early warning signs of suicide and in the “how to’s” of accessing community resources.

More suicides occur among the workforce than any other demographic, and the majority of those who die by suicide have seen their primary health care provider in the month prior to their death. In 90 percent of instances, suicide is the result of unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness and can be said to be the terminal outcome of certain mental illnesses. Suicide does not discriminate; no community is immune.

For emergencies call
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Other Important Links
Tennessee Gatekeeper Training Implementation Support System
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network
Tennessee Lives Count
The Jason Foundation
American Association of Suicidology
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Housing and Homeless Services Links