There is a need for increased awareness and prevention of suicide in Loudon County.

Transcending all socioeconomic strata and age groups, it has been identified as a major public health problem among our general population. It is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds, and 22-27 U.S. veterans die from suicide daily.

For every law enforcement officer who dies in the line of duty, three more are lost to suicide. An average of three Tennesseans daily are lost to suicide. Rural areas such as Loudon County are particularly adept at maintaining low official numbers of suicide deaths, due in part to wide and understandable discretion in reporting criteria.

The actual numbers are at least four times greater than what one might find on the www.tn.gov website for Loudon County.

Suicide is universally known as the “silent epidemic.” We are ill-equipped to address the issue, so we avoid or deny the problem entirely. This too often results in further needless loss of life. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. By making an intentional effort to connect and taking a genuine interest in others, we can make a huge difference.

Denial is the ultimate enabler. The first essential step in addressing any problem is to identify it. We can also attend free suicide intervention training, which prepares us to effectively engage a suicidal individual. The information presented additionally dispels most common myths about suicide.

Let’s help give suicide prevention an audible voice in our communities. For more information, visit the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at www.tspn.org, or Vet2Vet at tnvhc.org.

What is the value of a human life?

Steve Davis

Lenoir City