Webinar raises suicide awareness, addresses pandemic effects on high-risk groups

JACKSON, Tenn. — September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is focusing on how the pandemic is affecting two groups of people.

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Why talk about suicide? It’s the 10th leading cause of death, but it’s not something most people want to talk about.

“This serves as a motivator to think about how can we, what can we do to reduce the number of suicides in our state,” said TSPN Interim Executive Director Misty Leitsch.

Earlier this week, we showed you this display of hundreds of pairs of shoes in Hardin County, representing 1,159 Tennesseans who died by suicide last year.

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From 2016 to 2018, the highest rates were among 45 to 54-year-olds.

“We see that same trend happen for the next two years,” Leitsch said.

This year, the TSPN hosted a webinar, with one session focused on farmers and first responders.

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They addressed the severe stress and isolation among farmers, and how suicide is the leading cause of death among police officers.

But this isn’t a problem just among farmers and first responders. Suicide could affect anyone. And the TSPN is calling on you to help combat this epidemic.

“It’s critical that we come together to support not only each other, but to really truly support those with emotional and mental health struggles, because we know those things are very prevalent right now,” said Carroll County Mayor Joseph Butler.

Building awareness, knowing the resources, and reaching out to struggling loved ones may prevent the most preventable cause of death among Americans.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues or is thinking about suicide, click here for helpful resources.


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