2016 DeKalb Suicide Rate Second Highest in Upper Cumberland

January 8, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Health’s Office of Health Statistics reports 8 recorded DeKalb County suicide deaths in 2016, for an age adjusted rate of 41.3 per 100,000 population. That’s an increase from 5 deaths in 2015, or 26.1 per 100,000.


The new statistics released Friday by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network show that DeKalb County’s rate of suicide for 2016 was second highest among the 14 counties in the Upper Cumberland Region and above the state rate of 16.2 per 100,000 population. Clay County had the highest rate in the Upper Cumberland with 4 deaths at 51.7 per 100,000 population.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health Statistics, there were 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2016, up from 1,065 the past year (representing a 4% increase).

The crude suicide rate went up from 15.6 to 16.2 per 100,000 (representing a 4% increase.) Firearms remain the most common means of suicide death in Tennessee, accounting for 677, or 61%, of the recorded suicide deaths in 2016. 222, or 20% of the deaths, were hangings or suffocations and 144, or 13% of the deaths, were poisonings or overdoses. All of these proportions are roughly the same as last year’s figures. Whites account for 79% of the general population of Tennessee but 91% of the suicide deaths. Males are also disproportionately represented, making up 49% of the population but 77% (857) of the suicide deaths recorded in 2016.

For the record, the latest figures from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) give a national rate of 13.9 per 100,000 as of 2016, with Tennessee’s rate that year placing it at 22nd among the states. Nationally, there were 44,965 suicide deaths in the U.S. in 2016, the latest year national data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This comes out to 123 suicide deaths each day and one death every 12 minutes. Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States and is responsible for 1.6% of all deaths recorded in 2016. Firearms were the leading mode of death, involved in 22,938 suicide deaths, or 51% of the total.

In any given day, three people in Tennessee die by suicide. In 2016, the number suicides increased in young people (ages 10-18) in Tennessee, with one person in this age group lost to suicide every week. We lose one person between the ages of 10-24 every four days, and every day we lose at least one person over the age of 45, with adults in midlife and older adults remaining at higher risk. While suicide rates in Tennessee went up only slightly in 2016, the new figures are the highest recorded in Tennessee in over 35 years of record-keeping and the suicide rate remains above the national average.

Are you feeling desperate, alone or hopeless?

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

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 tspn@tspn.org.