Lethal Means

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Suicide, Guns, and Public Health 

Most efforts to prevent suicide focus on why people take their lives. But as we understand more about who attempts suicide and when and where and why, it becomes increasingly clear that how a person attempts–the means they use–plays a key role in whether they live or die.

Harvard School of Public Health -  Learn more here. 


SAfe Guard your home

Even if you think your child is not at risk for suicide, why take chances? These simple steps can help you suicide-proof your home and possibly save a life.

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence & Rhode Island Department of Health - Learn more here. 

For gun owners, protecting your family involves more than keeping them safe from accident or attack. It also involves being aware of the warning signs of suicide and the steps to prevent it. Together we can protect our family, our friends, and our freedom.

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"Reducing the availability of highly lethal and commonly used suicide methods has been associated with declines in suicide rates of as much as 30%–50% in other countries. The theory and evidence underlying means restriction is outlined. Most evidence of its efficacy comes from population-level interventions and natural experiments. In the U.S., where 51% of suicides are completed with firearms and household firearm ownership is common and likely to remain so, reducing a suicidal person’s access to firearms will usually be accomplished not by fiat or other legislative initiative but rather by appealing to individual decision, for example, by counseling at-risk people and their families to temporarily store household firearms away from home or otherwise making household firearms inaccessible to the at-risk person until they have recovered. Providers, gatekeepers, and gun owner groups are important partners in this work. Research is needed in a number of areas: communications research to identify effective messages and messengers for “lethal means counseling,” clinical trials to identify effective interventions, translational research to ensure broad uptake of these interventions across clinical and community settings, and foundational research to better understand method choice and substitution. Approaches to suicide methods other than firearms are discussed. Means restriction is one of the few empirically based strategies to substantially reduce the number of suicide deaths."

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