NSSF Partners with Foundation to Reduce Suicide Risks

During SHOT Show this year, the NSSF announced a partnership with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) that will launch a nationwide program to help prevent suicide by firearm.  To achieve this goal, the joint-operation will educate people in the firearms business, such as firearm retailers and range owners, about the warning signs and risk factors that can lead to suicide. For AFSP, this a part of their Project 2025, which aims to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by the year 2025.

During the election, many politicians campaigned on the gun issue and one of their statistics to reference is that there were around 33,000 firearm-related deaths in 2015.  One problem with that stat is that only ~11,000 of those deaths were homicide; the rest were suicide.  AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christine Moutier, stated during a press conference at SHOT show, “Of all suicide deaths in our nation, nearly 50 percent are by firearm.  By increasing public education of firearms and suicide prevention, and by encouraging the use of safe storage options and thus reducing access to lethal means, we give suicidal individuals something they desperately need: time.  Time for the intense suicidal risk to diminish and time for someone to intervene with mental health support and resources.  Research has shown that separating suicidal individuals from a variety of lethal means can prevent suicide.”

Steve Sanetti, NSSF’s President and CEO, added that this partnership expands their efforts to promote firearms safety. The national program will be an expansion of a pilot program that was implemented in four states last August. In those states, local AFSP chapters and range owners, firearm retail store owners, and some gun show vendors were able to share resources, including:

  • Talk Saves Lives: Firearms and Suicide Prevention, a community-based presentation that provides an overview of mental health and suicide and why we should help
  • Firearms and Suicide Prevention, a brochure that can be handed out that includes information on safe storage of firearms, statistics about suicide, the warning signs and risk factors for suicide, how to talk to someone that may be suicidal, and where to find more help.
  • Facilitator’s Guide, for volunteers involved in the program on how to lead these community-based programs.
  • A webpage dedicated to the overview of firearms and suicide prevention.

 

 

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