Three Tennesseans Die by Suicide Every Day

Each day we lose three Tennesseans to suicide, now the ninth leading cause of death in Tennessee. In 2017, there were 142 youth deaths by suicide, representing the twenty-four (10-24) age group, with 51 of these representing children between the ages of ten to seventeen (10-17). Suicide by children increased by 24.4 percent from 2016 to 2017; and more alarmingly, suicide by children increased by 54.5 percent from 2015 to 2017.

One death by suicide is one death too many, said Scott Ridgway, Executive Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN). Given the stark increase in death by suicide among children, we are working with Governor-elect Bill Lees transition team to impress the importance of saving all lives in Tennessee and improving our prevention efforts.

The Tennessee Department of Healths Office of Health Statistics reports there were 1,163 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2017, up from 1,110 the previous year. The suicide rate increased from 16.7 to 17.3 per 100,000. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in Tennessee during 2014 “ 2016.

Annually, TSPN staff compiles and analyzes the latest statistics available from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2019 Status of Suicide in Tennessee report provides state legislators, mental health professionals, and the general public with information on the problem of suicide in our state and what is being done to prevent it. Each years edition includes a detailed report on suicide trends within Tennessee, both overall and by age, race, gender, and geography. The complete report is available on the TSPN website at

As TSPN staff, its many volunteers, and the innumerable suicide prevention advocates across the state know, Tennessee is a national model with our efforts for suicide prevention. With that said, we must, as a state, increase our efforts to combat this public health crisis. For every number and rate that is provided in the 2019 Status of Suicide in Tennessee report, a family member, loved one, neighbor, co-worker, and friend suffers an unimaginable loss. To learn how to get involved with TSPN or to request a suicide prevention training, visit our website:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); Crisis Text Line: Text TN to 741741 TTY line: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) For non-emergency information on suicide prevention, contact the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at (615) 297-1077 or [email protected]. More information about TSPN is available at the agency website (

TSPN is the statewide public-private organization responsible for implementing the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention. TSPN and its volunteers work across the state to organize activities & projects promoting suicide prevention awareness, providing suicide prevention & crisis intervention training to community organizations, and conducting postvention sessions for schools & organizations after suicides occur.

Scott Ridgway, Executive Director
615-945-5558; [email protected]