Safe Gun Storage in Suicide Prevention
September is national Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicidal ideation is often a fleeting thought. If a person can be prevented from acting on that thought for as little as 10 minutes, the thought will often pass.
According to the most recent statistics from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in Florida, 3,567 lives were lost to suicide in the last year. Two thirds of gun deaths are suicides in the US. If a gun is locked away, separate from the ammunition, the spontaneousness of the moment is lost.
What is the impact that access to guns has on this statistic?
- Nine out of ten people who attempt suicide and survive will not go on to die of suicide. (Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health)
- Many of the most widely used suicide attempt methods have a case fatality rate below 5% - but the rate by firearm use is 85%. (Harvard…)
- Two-thirds of all gun deaths in the US are suicides. (CDC, Underlying Cause of Death, 2015-2019)
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
In case control studies that compared individuals who died by suicide with those who did not, those dying by suicide were more likely to live in homes with guns. Moreover, a study by Miller 2007 found that males and females and people of all age groups were at higher risk for suicide if they lived in a state with high firearm prevalence. Overall suicides were almost twice as high in the high-gun states, even though non-firearm suicides were about equal.
This is why the LWVFL and our LWVSeminole Gun Safety Action Team join other gun safety organizations in advocating for safe storage legislation as a priority.
For more information about suicide and mental health visit NAMI or AFSP
--Over 40,000 Americans die by suicide each year.
--Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people in the U.S
--Every year nearly 3,000 young people die by firearm suicide.
--Access to a gun triples the risk of death.
--Warning signs: depression, mood swings, substance abuse, hopelessness
--What to do: ask if thinking of suicide, remove guns and lethal means, get help
--Call 2-1-1 or 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741
--Your life matters, you are not alone.