Tennessee’s reported suicides increased in 2015

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A string of local suicides seems to be playing into a larger trend occurring across the state.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network published its annual report earlier this month outlining the suicide trends within the state. According to “The Status of Suicide in Tennessee,” the rates and recorded numbers of suicide in 2015, the latest year for specific figures, were up both up from 2014. There were 1,065 recorded deaths by suicide among Tennesseans in 2015, up from 945 the previous year.

This report comes shortly after the suicide deaths of two Farragut high school sophomores and one senior, all within the span of one semester. The school came under criticism for allegedly not addressing the first of three suicides seriously enough, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel. Catherine Miller, a Farragut high school junior, authored a change.org petition in the wake of the second student’s suicide, calling on open discussion and an apology from school administration. The petition has garnered over 2,500 signatures at the time of publication.

The report claims suicide is the third-leading cause of death for Tennesseans between the age of 10-19, with 54 such deaths occurring in the date for that age range in 2015. The rate of suicide among teens increased 64 percent between 2011 and 2015.

“Going forward, we have our work cut out for us,” said Scott Ridgeway, Executive Director of TSPN. “Tennessee’s suicide rate and raw number of deaths rose sharply in 2015, and recent statistics indicate a growing problem with suicide among adolescents and preteens.”

Tanner Hancock is native Nashvillian and 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee, a little-known school located in Knoxville, Tenn. He spent several years working at the university's student newspaper The Daily Beacon in differing capacities. When not pushing deadline, Tanner enjoys watching obscure samurai flicks or playing Go.

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