By mtjulietintern

Randall Hutto
Wilson County

As county mayor, I feel my primary purpose is to help the citizens of Wilson County in any way that I can. Whether it is through safer laws, employment opportunities or access to quality education, I strive to work on behalf of citizens from all walks of life to make Wilson County the best place to call home.

I am often made aware of problems that plague citizens throughout our county by community leaders that care enough to step forward and ask for help. Barbara Payne came into my office recently and discussed with me the devastating effects that suicide has on our society.

Suicide doesn’t discriminate between the wealthy and the poor, the young and the old, the healthy and the sick. It’s a unique pain that is often associated with depression or devastating circumstances. Suicide prevention isn’t just a national, state or county responsibility. It’s a human being responsibility.

It is my mission that Wilson County is the best place to call home in all of Tennessee. Part of that mission is ensuring that citizens are safe. Another part of that mission is ensuring that citizens have an opportunity to live a full life. Suicide robs individuals of life. It steals potential. It buries hope. It’s never the last option. It’s never the only way out. It is my hope that the information put together by Payne not only shines much-needed light on the subject of suicide, but also shines a light for someone battling with suicidal thoughts.

Wilson County cares. You are not alone. You always have hope.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness in today’s society. Darkness is prevalent in our home, jobs, schools, politics, etc.  Hope is the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burdens behind us,” said Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore.

Suicide doesn’t distinguish between the young and the old; the rich and the poor; male or female. Lives are never lived, among the youngest of suicide victims; and families are forever changed. Among the suicide victims for whom life has been lived; suicide is a sad close to productive lives.

The causes of suicide are many and complex.  Among the causes are depression, financial worries, bullying, social isolation, health issues, a perception of inferiority, fear, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and holidays that should be joyful trigger angst and sadness.

Do you know the warning signs?

• Threatening or talking about wanting to hurt or kill himself or herself.

• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.

• Displaying hopelessness.

• Expressing rage or uncontrolled anger.

• Acting in a reckless manner; or engaging in risky activities.

• Feeling of being trapped with no way out.

• Exhibiting anxiety and/or agitation.

• Disturbances in sleep patterns.

• Dramatic mood changes.

• Giving away prized possessions.

• Having a history of previous suicide attempts.     

Take the time to observe and communicate with your family and friends; or, someone you trust. Unlike any other time in the history of our country, the use of technology has an impact on every phase of our lives. Be vigilant and be aware of trends and threats to our community through the internet. If you’re a novice with the internet, ask questions of those more experienced with navigating the internet.

Locally, Cumberland Mental Health Services serves the community for help to gain better mental health. Professionals are available with a mobile crisis unit to respond to adult suicide situations seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Call 877-567-6051.  Crisis services for children and adolescents are not part of VHHCS. Call 866-791-9221 for assistance.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is “saving lives in Tennessee.” TSPN is a national model for suicide prevention. TSPN offers a wide range of resources tools and training for suicide awareness and prevention and for survivors of suicide loss. 

QPR training is provided through TSPN. The QPR mission is to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. Quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.

Our veterans have served and sacrificed for our Nation.  Veterans may have special needs, and there are resources for assistance through Vet Centers. Vet Centers provide readjustment services in an environment of understanding, compassion and confidentiality.  If you’re experiencing feelings of guilt, isolation, rage, depression, anxiety, lack of structure, relationship problems; or medical or financial hardship the Vet Center can help. Call 615-366-1220.

The hotline number is staffed by combat veterans and spouses with 24 hour a day and 365 days a year access.  In Middle Tennessee, the Vet Center is at Airpark Business Center I, 1420 Donelson Pike in Nashville.

“At the end of the day, remember to have hope, be strong, laugh loud, play hard, live in the moment, smile often and dream big,” Moore said. “Remember you are loved and never give up. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Randall Hutto is mayor of Wilson County.