TN Governor Aims to Lessen the number of Suicides

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The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) applauds Gov. Bill Lee's leadership and immediate attention to funding urgent initiatives for mental health and suicide prevention efforts upon taking Office.

The Suicide Prevention Network has announced that its strategic plan to refine and deepen outreach of its national model of prevention-intervention-postvention to reduce stigma and save lives has received the endorsement of the Governor. The Governor's comprehensive and inclusive multi-prong approach assures sustainability of various programs and services proposed for citizens in dire need of assistance to live out their lives.

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"One suicide death is too many," says Scott Ridgway, executive director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. The public-private partnership responsible for reporting findings cites an almost 55 percent increase in suicides among children ages 10 to 17 in the last three years.

The new report, in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, analyzes suicide demographics to share with mental-health professionals, lawmakers and the public.

While there's no single reason for a person taking their own life, Ridgway says children's exposure to "mature concepts" should be a concern.

"We're seeing younger kids think about suicide and part of that is, is that they are exposed to social media, they are watching stuff on TV," says Ridgway. "There's a lot more exposure."

Experts say it's unclear how big a role social media plays in suicide attempts, but a 2016 study ties online bullying to increased anxiety in young adults. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day, at 800-273-8255.


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