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Suicide is Preventable. Please Reach Out for Help.

Physicians have higher rates of burnout, depressive symptoms, and suicide risk than the general population. You're not alone. Counselors are here to empower and equip you with the tools you need to cope. 

Suicide Lifeline & Regional Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 988

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, now called the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.


Crisis Text Line

Text HOME to 741741 

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line trains volunteers to support people in crisis. 


Valley Hospital Respond Line

423-499-2300 or 1-800-542-9600 (all ages)

RESPOND is a comprehensive community service designed to help you by providing 24-hour mental health/chemical dependency, crisis intervention, assessment, and information and referral assistance. The RESPOND team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by mental health professionals and psychiatric nurses.


Volunteer Behavioral Health Care Center

1-800-704-2651 24 Hour Crisis Line

Crisis Services offers information and crisis phone counseling, face to face crisis evaluation, triage and referrals by mobile crisis teams. Crisis Walk-in Centers is available in Chattanooga.


Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network


The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network provides information, training and education on suicide prevention statewide. Additionally, they offer information for survivors of suicide and the grieving process. It is an excellent resource.

Suicide Warning Signs

There is no typical suicide victim. No age group, ethnicity, or background is immune. Fortunately, many troubled individuals display behaviors deliberately or inadvertently signal their suicidal intent. Recognizing the warning signs and learning what to do next may help save a life.

The following behavioral patterns may indicate possible risk for suicide and should be watched closely. If they appear numerous or severe, seek professional help at once. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 (previously 1-800-273-TALK (8255) provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Giving away prized possessions

  • Previous history of suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility

  • Unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior

  • Loss of interest in personal appearance

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs

  • General hopelessness

  • Recent experience humiliation or failure

  • Unwillingness to connect with potential helpers

  • Talking about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live

  • Preoccupation with death and dying

  • Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities

  • Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss

  • Experience or fear of a situation of humiliation of failure

  • Drastic changes in behavior

  • Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.

  • Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements

Feelings, Thoughts, and Behaviors 

Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks about suicide. Most everyone decides to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary, but death in not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control.


Frequently, they:

  • Can’t make the sadness go away

  • Can’t see the possibility of change

  • Can’t see themselves as worthwhile

  • Can’t get someone’s attention

  • Can’t seem to get control

  • Can’t stop the pain

  • Can’t think clearly

  • Can’t make decisions

  • Can’t see any way out

  • Can’t sleep eat or work

  • Can’t get out of the depression

How Can You Help? 

  1. Be aware. Learn the warning signs listed on the first page.

  2. Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.

  3. Ask if s/he is thinking about suicide.

  4. Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.

  5. Be willing to listen. Allow for expressions of feelings and accept those feelings.

  6. Be non-judgmental. Avoid debating whether suicide is right or wrong, whether someone’s feelings are good or bad, or on the value of life.

  7. Avoid taunting the person or daring him/her to “do it”.

  8. Avoid giving advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.

  9. Avoid asking “why.” This only encourages defensiveness.

  10. Offer empathy, not sympathy.

  11. Avoid acting shocked. This creates distance.

  12. Don’t keep someone else’s suicidal thoughts—or your own—a secret. Get help—silence can be deadly.

  13. Offer hope that alternatives are available. Avoid offering easy reassurance; it only proves you don’t understand.

  14. Take action. Remove anything that the person could use to hurt themselves means. Get help from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Who Can You Talk To? 

If you or someone you know is severely depressed or actively suicidal, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.​

CHCMS member physicians have access to 6 free, confidential counseling sessions through LifeBridge. Call LifeBridge at 423-591-9830 or contact a counselor directly here. 

Articles & Resources

Facts about Suicide

  • Suicide generally is caused by the convergence of multiple risk factors — the most common being untreated or inadequately managed mental health conditions. 1, 2

  • Physicians who took their lives were less likely to be receiving mental health treatment compared with non-physicians who took their lives even though depression was found to be a significant risk factor at approximately the same rate in both groups. 3

  • The suicide rate among male physicians is 1.41 times higher than the general male population. And among female physicians, the relative risk is even more pronounced — 2.27 times greater than the general female population. 4

  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the 24–34 age range (Accidents are the first). 5

  • Twenty-eight percent of residents experience a major depressive episode during training versus 7–8 percent of similarly aged individuals in the U.S. general population. 6

  • Among physicians, risk for suicide increases when mental health conditions go unaddressed, and
    self-medication occurs as a way to address anxiety, insomnia or other distressing symptoms. Although
    self-medicating, mainly with prescription medications, may reduce some symptoms, the underlying health problem is not effectively treated. This can lead to a tragic outcome.

  • In one study, 23 percent of interns had suicidal thoughts. However, among those interns who completed four sessions of web-based cognitive behavior therapy, suicidal ideation decreased by nearly 50 percent. 7

  • Drivers of burnout include workload, work inefficiency, lack of autonomy and meaning in work, and work-home conflict.

  • Unaddressed mental health conditions, in the long run, are more likely to have a negative impact on a physician’s professional reputation and practice than reaching out for help early.

Get Support from Lifebridge

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