Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
It’s like a plane crash every day.
That’s how Michael Anderson, Upper Cumberland Regional Director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, describes the number of people who take their own lives.
“Whenever there is a plane crash, we talk about it,” he said in a presentation to the Putnam County Health Council. “There’s worldwide coverage. There’s a lot of people that want to know what we can do to stop this.”
Because of that, Anderson said there’s been an “incremental improvement” in the number of airline fatalities over the years.
“Every year, the aircraft industry and the world really is saying it’s not acceptable to lose lives in airplane crashes,” he said.
He said a similar effort is needed for #suicideprevention.
“In 2015, 121 people died every day in this country by #suicide,” he said. “In 2016, it was 123 and in 2017, it was 129. We see that number get higher and higher every year.”
Anderson said #suicide is one of the top ten causes of death in America, but added, “When you start looking at age groups, from the age of 10 to 35, #suicide is the second leading cause of death.”
He said the #suicide rate in Tennessee is even higher than the national average.
“We lose more than three Tennesseans every day,” he said, adding that most people are surprised to learn that the #suicide rate is higher than that of many other causes of death.
“When we look at Department of Health data from Tennessee in 2017, there were 500 deaths associated with the drug fentanyl, 556 murders, 644 deaths associated with prescription opioids, (and) 1,084 motor vehicle related fatalities,” he said. “There was 1,163 deaths by #suicide.”
He believes the topic needs to be addressed more openly.
“We don’t really talk about #suicide or #mentalhealth enough,” he said. “There’s a huge #stigma around it, and we sort of avoid the topic.”
But he said that approach needs to change.
“I’ll tell you what’s not been working for us,” he said. “Not talking about #suicide.”
What has been working, he said, is “evidence-based training.”
“(It’s) incredibly simple. We can do it in about an hour or two,” he said, encouraging anyone who wants the training to contact him.
“I think you’ll find that the problem has some simple solutions if we all work on it as a society,” he said.
Anderson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.