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Knox County Mayor Jacobs addresses suicide during COVID crisis

From WVLT -

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs - WVLT

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said he wants to find a way to spread a message of hope and optimism after a report showed a high number of suicide cases in the county.


The Knox County Regional Forensic Center (RFC) reported they examined nine suspected suicide cases – eight of which happened within a 48 hour period during the week of March 27, 2020 in Knox County.


In 2019, the medical examiner performed autopsies for 199 confirmed or suspected suicides from across the region with 83 coming specifically from Knox County.


“That number is completely shocking and makes me wonder if what we are doing now is really the best approach,” the Mayor said. “We have to determine how we can respond to COVID-19 in a way that keeps our economy intact, keeps people employed and empowers them with a feeling of hope and optimism – not desperation and despair.”


State Representative Rick Staples released a statement saying, "Suicide is the end result of many factors, life stressors and underlying mental health conditions. Now more than ever with the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the fluidness of daily life as a result of the virus, we must become more conscious of how we can prevent these tragedies through greater awareness of mental health, triggers and warning signs and be able to offer effective interventions and treatments.

While we are monitoring Covid-19, let’s also come together as a community to check on and support one another in every way possible. At this time- no random act of kindness is too small.“


The Suicide Prevention Helpline listed options for anyone feeling emotional distress related to the COVID-19 outbreak:

- Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local or national news.

- Stay active. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Eat healthy foods when possible.

- Connect with loved ones and others who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversations unrelated to the outbreak.

- Get accurate health information from reputable sources. For health information about COVID-19, please contact the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov, your local healthcare provider, or your local 211 and 311 services, if available.

Anyone who needs immediate help should call 911.


Other resources for help include:

- The National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 - Knoxville suicide crisis line: (865) 523-9124 - The Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should check in with loved ones frequently to make sure they are okay. They have provided a list of sensitive questions to ask someone who you suspect could be suicidal here.

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