In the United States alone, someone dies by suicide once every 13 minutes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. But because suicide has been considered such a “taboo” subject to think or to talk about, there are a lot of misconceptions about which individuals may be at risk, about when, how and why people might consider killing themselves, and about how best to help yourself or someone else who’s contemplating suicide.
The annual Light to Hope ceremony will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, at Cookeville Higher Education Campus (formerly the Cookeville campus of Nashville State Community College) at 1000 Neal Street in Cookeville.
The event will give friends and families the chance to honor the memory of loved ones lost to suicide, give support to the loved ones left behind, and education and awareness about a topic that is often kept in the shadows.
On Thursday, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss signed proclamations designating September as Suicide Prevention Month in DeKalb County and Smithville.
In 2013, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.7 per 100,000 people, translating into three reported suicide deaths. Two of them were female. This number of suicides in DeKalb County for 2013 is the same as the previous year and the local rate is identical to the state average of 15.7 per 100,000 population for 2013 as reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
Pickett County had the state's highest suicide rate among the state's ninety five counties at 59.1 per 100,000 with three deaths while Haywood, Trousdale, and Van Buren County reported none for 2013.
DeKalb County's suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. DeKalb's suicide rate for 2011 was 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and 15.9 per 100,000 in 2012 with three suicides.
Again Pickett County recorded the highest suicide rate among the fourteen Upper Cumberland Counties for 2013. Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest.
Pickett: 59.1 per 100,000 (3 deaths)
Overton: 45.3 (10 deaths)
White: 38.1 (10 deaths)
Smith: 26.2 (5 deaths)
Macon: 22.0 (5 deaths)
Putnam: 17.7(13 deaths)
Warren: 17.5 (7 deaths)
DeKalb: 15.7 (3 deaths)
Clay: 12.9 (1 death)
Fentress: 11.2 (2 deaths)
Cumberland: 10.4 (6 deaths)
Jackson: 8.7 (1 death)
Cannon: 7.3 (1 death)
Van Buren: 0
The proclamation is as follows:
WHEREAS, suicide is one of the most disruptive and tragic events a family and a community can
experience, with more than 900 lives lost in Tennessee each year and an estimated 8-25 attempted
suicides for each suicide death; and
WHEREAS, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of all deaths in Tennessee and the second-leading cause of
death among people from the age of 15 to 24 (source: Tennessee Department of Health); and
WHEREAS, public awareness of this terrifying problem is the key to preventing further suffering and loss
of life; and the risk for human self-destruction can be reduced through awareness, education and
treatment; and as the highest risk for suicide is among the survivors of those who died by suicide or
those who have attempted suicide; and
WHEREAS, suicide prevention has been declared a national priority by the President and Congress; and
Tennessee declares suicide prevention as a state priority and the legislature, in partnership with TSPN,
implements the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention based on the National Strategy for Suicide
WHEREAS, Tennessee is a national leader in the effort to prevent suicide, being one of the first states to
develop a suicide prevention and evaluation plan covering the lifespan; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of Tennessee has appointed a Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council to
coordinate the implementation of the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention; and
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is a grassroots collaboration of Tennesseans and
organizations working to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning
signs of suicide, and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in our state; and
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is also committed to excellence in suicide prevention, and postvention.
Now, Therefore, I, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss do hereby proclaim September, 2015 as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in DeKalb County and Smithville, and do urge all citizens to work to prevent suicide and to raise awareness and tolerance around all people affected by this tragedy"