September is National Suicide Awareness Month

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by Shelly Barnes, Extension Agent, Family, and Consumer Sciences, Wilson County, TN

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

In 2019, over 47,000 individuals died by suicide in the United States; 1,220 of these were Tennesseans and 33 were from Wilson County. These individuals leave behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. To find resources go to https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month or https://www.tspn.org.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

In order to remember those that we have lost to suicide, the Wilson County Health Council has dedicated Remembrance Trees where you can tie a ribbon on a tree in memory of a loved one that has been lost. We invite you to write the person’s name on the piece of ribbon which will be provided. The trees will be identified by a sign with information as to where to get the ribbon. The trees are at the following locations:

  • Wilson County Courthouse
  • City of Lebanon-City Hall
  • Cumberland University Campus
  • Mt. Juliet – next to the museum beside City Hall
  • Watertown Square – next to the gazebo

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

Your local Extension office focuses on providing educational programming and outreach in agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth development. We are thankful to serve you and encourage you to reach out to us for more information about our programming.

For more information on this or other family topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at [email protected] or 9584 ext. 105. -444-615

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