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Know warning signs to help prevent suicide
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Warren County Executive Herschel Wells and McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley signed proclamations Tuesday declaring September as Suicide Prevention Month in Warren County and the city of McMinnville
“I think suicide is one of those ugly subjects people tend to hide away and pretend that it doesn’t happen,” said Haley. “Suicide seems to be the easy way out for the person doing it, but it leaves a really horrible situation for their loved ones to learn to live with and accept. The more we can make folks aware of the issues of suicide and the complications and implications of it, the better. Anything we can do as a city and as a county to bring awareness to the forefront will need to do in an effort to help with prevention.”
Individuals contemplating suicide often ask for help from friends and family in subtle ways, rather than being forthcoming and seeking professional help. Wells says education is the key to prevention.
“There is help out there, but some people won’t pursue it,” said Wells. “People need to educate themselves about the signs. When you look back, you will see them, but you need to know how to recognize the signs before then. Sadly, I think suicide runs in families.”
Haley agreed, adding “It’s unfortunate people get to that point and believe suicide is the only way out. They think there is no one to help. Sometimes they do reach out and we don’t see it.”
In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either sex, any race or ethnicity, and any economic status. The average suicide death leaves behind six survivors – family and friends of the deceased – all of who are at increased risk for a suicide attempt themselves.
Wells and Haley were asked to sign proclamations by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. The organization is collecting Suicide Prevention Awareness Month proclamations from city mayors and county executives across the state. The proclamations will be displayed Sept. 18 during the annual Light of Hope event held on the campus of Nashville State Community College. Light of Hope is dedicated to remembering those who have been lost to suicide.
“This is a community awareness effort about suicide prevention,” said Lena Higgins, TSPN member. “The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is all about education with the ultimate intention of reducing suicide rates in the state of Tennessee. During the month of September, we focus on community awareness.”
TSPN offers a variety of resources for members and the general public, all available for free consultation or download.
Along with training and education to help prevent suicide, the organization offers survivor support and a free suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
For more information about TSPN and its services, visit