NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Suicide deaths continue to increase across the nation with no signs of slowing down.
In Tennessee, the numbers are also rising. In 1981, there were 571 deaths from suicide and in 2017 those numbers increased to 1,163.
There are five counties in Tennessee that see the highest suicide rate: Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Shelby, and Montgomery.
What can be done? How can you help? Where do you turn if you need help? Misty Leitsch with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network says her job is educating and helping those in need.
“It is very important to know that suicidal people don’t want to die,” said Leitsch. “What they want is the pain they are experiencing to stop.”
In Tennessee, there have been changes and campaigns to educate others about this serious problem. Earlier this year a call box for people in crisis was put in at the Natchez Trace Parkway, a place infamous for suicides.
The FCC is also suggesting ‘988’ become the national suicide hotline number.
“The idea is by creating a 3 digit small number that is easy to remember then it can be promoted and educated at an early age just like we do with 911,” said Leitsch.
For people with lived experience like Bob Forster, sharing their stories of survival and perseverance is a way to help others know there is help out there.
“I have been extremely blessed with a beautiful family and a beautiful career and I think how close I came to taking my own life,” said Forster. “Please, please for your sake and for those that love you get help talk to somebody. I am proof that you can have a wonderful ending.”
September is National Suicide Awareness Month.
For more information on how you can get help for yourself or a loved one click here.
Tennessee Crisis Line: 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-800-274-7471)