September is officially recognized as Suicide Prevention Month, and it is crucial that TN Voices continues to work to assist the Tennessee community in mental health support services, and shine a light on disparities in underserved populations.
Experts have feared a wave of depression and suicide triggered by complications of the global COVID-19 pandemic, including loss of unemployment benefits, isolation, and lessened access to mental health support services.
With all of the issues Tennesseans are dealing with, many pertaining to the crisis, anxiety, financial instability and lack of connection can not only exacerbate existing mental health issues and assist them in manifesting, but kickstart the onset of new diagnoses.
“All of our thoughts surrounding the pandemic are catastrophic in nature,” says TN Voices CEO Rikki Harris. “This is traumatic for anyone, so naturally, those with underlying mental health issues need more resources.”
Suicides have been rising in the U.S. over the past two decades, with 132 people every day on average ending their lives in 2018, according to the CDC. Overall, it is the 10th leading cause of death, with the highest rates among middle-aged white men in rural communities.
In the aftermath of the 2007 recession in the United States, about 10,000 more people, mostly middle-aged and older men, died by suicide than expected in a 2 year span.
At least 35 states, including Tennessee, have reported a rise in fatal opioid overdoses during the pandemic, with fentanyl and methamphetamine increasingly implicated, according to the American Medical Association. Access to harm reduction and medical services have been thinning due to the physical distancing requirements and pressure of emergency rooms.
That’s where TN Voices steps in. Tennesseans can see professionals for as little as FREE. It’s a service provided by donors specifically for this reason. All anyone has to do is call, and the organization can get them the treatment they need.
“In an economic situation like this, one thing you most certainly can’t afford is to put off mental health treatment,” adds Harris.
In addition to resources found at TNVoices.org, the nonprofit is releasing 2 video PSA’s marking Suicide Prevention Month (September), Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 6-12) and World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10). The videos feature personal messages from Director of Contracts, Corporate Compliance Officer and Chair of the TN Voices Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Committee Will Voss. The videos can be downloaded HERE.
Donors can ensure these services continue in the state of Tennessee for a monthly donation of as little as $10. That $10 can fund a prevention session for someone in need of help during the crisis.
Tennessee residents unemployed or without insurance and in need of mental health services can contact the TN Voices Hope Fund hotline at 615.269.7751.
Tennesseans who need mental health support services can contact staff at 1.800.670.9882. To donate to help fund mental health services for Tennesseans in need, log onto TNVoices.org/Donate.
Those who would like information on mental health advocacy in Tennessee, and to receive updates like this one, email TN Voices at TVC@TNVoices.org to join their mailing list.
For a list of mental health resources, log onto TNVoices.org.
TN Voices, founded by Tipper Gore in 1986, is a 501(c)3 that advocates for the emotional and behavioral well-being of Tennesseans with emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders across the state, bringing people and agencies together to address issues pertinent to individual and family needs, to gaps in services within a community, to policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels. TN Voices speaks out as active advocates for the emotional and behavioral well-being of Tennesseans. They provide advocacy, training, support, referral, prevention and early intervention.