Guns & Suicide

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0:30
I think it saved my life.

Suicide-notes-wikipedia
More than 20,000 Americans a year kill themselves with a gun. Alarmed gun sellers are joining the suicide prevention fight
'Out of control': Why Montana has the highest suicide rate in the country
Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll - Harvard Public Health (17 page PDF)
Why are suicide rates increasing so much in the U.S.?
Being Suicidal: What It Feels Like to Want to Kill Yourself - Scientific American
A Collection of Real Suicide Notes
Inside Tumblr’s teen suicide epidemic

Suicide Notes

Famous Suicide Notes That Could've Been Tweeted
One patient at a time, this Wash U program works to reduce gun suicides
Why Aren't We Talking About Suicide When We Talk About Gun Violence?

 

Real Time U.S. Death Toll
Year-to-date Suicide Report by Oregon County
Curry County Suicidal Subjects to Date
Suicide Watch - A monthly eMail

35:56
We need common sense steps to save lives. President Obama

More than 20,000 Americans a year kill themselves with a gun. Alarmed gun sellers are joining the suicide prevention fight


“We want to work with the gun owners instead of against them,” said a suicide prevention coordinator in Utah.

Early one evening in February 2014, a man in his 40s walked into Rowdy’s Range & Shooter Supply in St. George, Utah, and asked to rent a gun for target practice. He was sociable and seemed calm as he handed over his driver’s license, went to his assigned lane and began shooting at the target, stopping every so often to chat with off-duty police officers in the lane next to his.

Just before his hour was up, an employee alerted him. The man thanked him, and the worker left. Then, still standing in the practice lane, the man turned the gun on himself and took his own life.

After paramedics took his body away and customers were escorted from the range, the company’s owner, Rowdy Reeve — who opened the range three months earlier with two partners in an industrial park at the edge of the Mojave Desert — began asking himself questions: Was there anything his staff should have noticed about the customer before handing him a gun? Could they have helped him?

“It was like a punch in the gut,” Reeve said.

That reckoning led Reeve and the two other co-owners to join a growing movement that aims to reduce gun suicides by spreading prevention techniques among firearm owners and sellers. It’s an effort that is slowly sweeping through gun country - states with high rates of firearm ownership, like Utah, that have shouldered a disproportionate weight of America’s rise in suicides. The endeavor has brought together longtime adversaries: the medical community, which typically sees guns as a public health threat, and the firearms industry, which distrusts most efforts to restrict access to guns.

Gun dealers, range owners and firearms instructors have found that suicide prevention fits into their mission to promote the safe use of guns. Hundreds of them around the country now share suicide-prevention literature, emphasize prevention techniques in their concealed-carry classes, teach workers to recognize distress among customers and welcome prevention advocates to firearm trade shows.

This seemingly unlikely partnership has unfolded quietly, in contrast to the public divisiveness that typically characterizes the debate over gun violence. It originated from mental health researchers and advocates, who see curbing firearm suicides - which make up more than half of all suicides in America, or nearly 23,000 in 2016 - as integral to reducing the number of firearm deaths.

“This is a new way to go about reducing suicidal persons’ access to guns - not by promoting an anti-gun agenda but by asking gun owners to be part of the solution,” said Catherine Barber, who directs the Means Matter Campaign to prevent suicide at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center. “Vilifying them isn’t going to work.”

"We want to work with the gun owners"

The new public-health emphasis on gun suicides is driven in part by statistics showing that they are far more prevalent than homicides committed with a firearm. That is particularly so in rural areas and the intermountain West. Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho and New Mexico all rank in the top 10 for suicide rates, with more than 20 deaths per year per 100,000 people (the national rate is 13.5 deaths and rising).

Unlike “red flag” laws that allow police officers to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others, the partnership of the gun industry and the suicide-prevention community requires no new legislation. It is voluntary, focusing on public-education campaigns to make people more comfortable talking about guns and suicide, and encouraging gun owners who feel suicidal to hand their weapons over to someone they trust. While there are no studies yet measuring the campaigns’ effect on death rates, advocates gauge success by the growing interest in the gun industry.

“At first I was very skeptical, because we have been trained to think when people talk about suicide that it’s nothing more than a veiled attempt to take away our guns,” said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the state’s biggest gun-rights lobbying group. “Then I checked the data.”

Aposhian was drawn into the issue in 2013, when Steve Eliason, a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, asked for his support on a campaign to curb suicides. The pitch included some alarming statistics: Utah had one of the country’s highest suicide rates, and half of them were by firearm. Of all of the state’s firearm-related deaths, 86 percent were suicides.

Aposhian joined the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, which has developed literature to distribute at gun shops, produced videos and created a suicide-prevention training module for concealed-carry training courses.

“We’re to the point now where we felt it would be a disservice and inappropriate to our membership to not let them know what’s going on in Utah and across the nation,” Aposhian said.

The Utah partnership has trickled down to communities all over the state, including Washington County, where Rowdy Reeve’s range is and where nearly half of all households own at least one firearm and many children grow up handling them. The suicide rate there is twice the national rate.

“We want to work with the gun owners instead of against them,” said Teresa Willie, the county’s suicide prevention coordinator. She oversees a campaign that includes public-education efforts at churches, schools and law enforcement agencies and running public service announcements on firearms and suicide before films at the local theater. “We don’t want to polarize the community at all," she said.

Reeve sought Willie out after the suicide at his range in early 2014. She visited the range, and taught his workers how to identify warning signs from customers who could be suicidal — and how to help them.

As Reeve listened, he felt a deepening sense of responsibility.

“If we are going to be selling these things, then we should also offer people help if they have any problems,” he said.

How the movement spread

The affiliation between the gun industry and public health advocates has its roots in New Hampshire, where in April 2009 a gun shop owner named Ralph Demicco found out that three people in one week had killed themselves using guns bought at his store. The news shook him; he considered himself a socially responsible business owner, and was cautious about selling firearms to people who seemed risky - drunk, on drugs, agitated, inexperienced. He was already a member of the New Hampshire Firearms Safety Coalition, which pressed gun-safety issues. “I was bewildered. I didn’t know what to do,” Demicco recalled.

One of his colleagues from the coalition asked if he would help in a new suicide prevention effort, driven by research that identified guns as a major risk factor - not because gun owners were more suicidal than anyone else, but because suicide is often impulsive, and guns are an effective means of death. Suicide prevention advocates needed Demicco because they knew gun owners would trust him more than they would public health officials. Demicco agreed, and together they created The Gun Shop Project, distributing posters to retailers with tips on how to spot and help people who appear suicidal.

The Gun Shop Project has since spread to 10 more states, including Utah, and there are similar partnerships in about 10 others, according to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Some are homegrown. Others are the result of a joint venture by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group that distributes suicide prevention “toolkits” to retailers and ranges.

“It’s a chance to overturn myths about suicide in the gun-owning community,” said Bill Brassard Jr., a National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman.

‘Difficult conversations, but you've got to have them’

Among those myths, according to researchers, is that if someone wants to end his or her life but doesn’t have access to a gun, the person will find another way. Researchers say that making it more difficult for someone who is suicidal to access a planned means of death can buy time until the suicidal thoughts subside.

That is particularly important in the case of guns, which, they say, are present in about a third of American homes and are the most lethal method of suicide. About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death, while drug overdoses — the most common method of suicide attempts — are fatal in less than 3 percent of cases, according to researchers at the Harvard Injury Research Control Center.

“The importance of education in talking to gun owners is not saying they shouldn’t own guns, and it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment,” said Marian Betz, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and co-founder of the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition, which has adopted the Gun Shop Project and National Shooting Sports Foundation programs. “It’s saying, ‘Sometimes we get so sad we can’t think straight, so how can we make things safer for you?’”

Jacquelyn Clark, owner of the Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center in Denver and a member of Colorado’s firearm safety coalition, redoubled her efforts after a first-time customer shot himself at her range two years ago.

Clark revamped her staff training and offered more customer-education literature, from suicide hotlines to gun-storage tips. She sought advice from other gun shops, adopting some of their rules, including a prohibition against new customers using the range alone without a recommendation from a family member, colleague or friend. The staff now looks more closely at new customers — and regulars — by examining eye contact, attention to safety briefings, and whether they seem in a rush.

Clark’s staff turns away more people now. Employees once asked a regular customer, upset because his wife had left him, to come back another day. They once asked a new customer, who was alone and seemed to want to rush through a handgun purchase, for a personal reference; instead, he left.

Some of these people leave angry. Some may not be dangerous to themselves or anyone else. But the cost of lost business is a price Clark said she’s willing to pay.

“These can be difficult conversations, but you’ve got to have them,” Clark said.

A gun instructor's mission

In the city of Loretto, in rural central-south Tennessee, firearms instructor Matt Holt sees those uncomfortable conversations as a personal crusade.

Four years ago, Holt learned that one of his closest friends had taken his own life with a gun. That motivated Holt to work with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network to persuade the state to require a suicide module in the state curriculum for handgun carry-permit training. The change went into effect July 1.

When Holt teaches the 10-hour course, he starts the suicide section by telling his students about his friend — and other friends and family members, including his mother, who have tried to kill themselves. “I try to engage them, to get them talking about it. Really talking,” Holt said.

He tells them about the signs of suicide, what to say to someone who exhibits them, and how to find a safe place for their guns.

He knows his openness makes him an exception in the gun community. He wants the curriculum to include videos on suicide prevention, he says, because “a lot of instructors still don’t feel comfortable with suicide, either.”

‘It's got to help'’

Last year, a man in his 40s walked into Rowdy’s Range & Shooter Supply and asked to speak with someone in charge. Reeve and his two co-owners came to the desk and began chatting with him. “I’m suicidal,” the man said. He wanted help in keeping himself away from guns. He asked them to take his picture, share it with their staff and tell them that if he returned and inquired about renting a gun, to refuse.

By then, Reeve had become trained to teach a suicide prevention course and was no longer unnerved by such conversations. He and his partners quickly agreed to the man’s request.

They kept chatting for about 45 minutes before the man shook their hands and thanked them. He said he hoped he wouldn’t see them again.

He hasn’t. Last Reeve heard, the man was doing fine.

“We tell our staff not to see our customers as customers but as a person. Spend time to talk to them, what brings them in today, get to know them,” Reeve said. “I’m a firm believer that if we can get out there and teach these classes and spread the firearms safety word, it’s got to help.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text SOS to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
Source: www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/more-20-000-people-die-gun-suicide-each-year-alarmed-n906796?utm_source=Weekly+Spark+10%2F12%2F18&utm_campaign=Weekly+Spark+October+12%2C+2018&utm_medium=email

One patient at a time, this Wash U program works to reduce gun suicides


The firearm suicide rate (6.3 per 100,000 people) is higher than the firearm homicide rate and has come down less sharply. The number of gun suicide deaths (19,392 in 2010) outnumbered gun homicides, as has been true since at least 1981.

The number of firearms available for sale to or possessed by U.S. civilians (about 310 million in 2009, according to the Congressional Research Service) has grown in recent years, and the 2009 per capita rate of one person per gun had roughly doubled since 1968. It is not clear, though, how many U.S. households own guns or whether that share has changed over time.

Data on homicides and other deaths are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on information from death certificates filed in state vital statistics offices, which includes causes of death reported by attending physicians, medical examiners and coroners. Data also include demographic information about decedents reported by funeral directors, who obtain that information from family members and other informants. Population data, used in constructing rates, come from the Census Bureau. Most statistics were obtained via the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), available from URL: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars. Data are available beginning in 1981; suitable population data do not exist for prior years. For more details, see Appendix 4.

Appendices 1-3 consist of detailed tables with annual data for firearm deaths, homicides and suicides, as well as non-fatal firearm and overall non-fatal violent crime victimization, for all groups and by subgroup.Appendices 1-3 consist of detailed tables with annual data for firearm deaths, homicides and suicides, as well as non-fatal firearm and overall non-fatal violent crime victimization, for all groups and by subgroup

www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/05/firearms_final_05-2013.pdf

In 2010, there were 31,672 deaths in the U.S. from firearm injuries, mainly through suicide (19,392) and homicide (11,078), according to CDC compilation of data from death certificates.6

Still, due in part to recent increases in the number of suicides, firearm homicide accounted for 35% of firearm deaths in 2010, the lowest share since 1981, the first year for which the CDC published data.

The gun suicide rate has declined far less than the gun homicide rate since the mid-1990s; the gun suicide rate began rising in recent years, and the number of victims is slightly higher than two decades ago. See the textbox at the end of this section for more detail.

Suicide by Firearm

Based on death certificates, 19,392 people killed themselves with firearms in 2010, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is the highest annual total since the CDC began publishing data in 1981, when the suicide toll was 16,139. Firearm suicide was the fourth leading cause of violent-injury death in 2010, following motor vehicle accidents, unintentional poison (including drug overdose) and falls. Firearms accounted for 51% of suicides in 2010.

The firearm suicide rate peaked in 1990, at 7.6 per 100,000 people, before declining or leveling off for most years since then. However, in recent years, the rate has risen somewhat: From 2007 to 2010, it went up 9%. The firearm suicide rate in 2010 (6.3 per 100,000 people) was the same as it was in 1998. Preliminary 2011 data show 19,766 deaths, and no change in rates from 2010.

The number of firearm suicides has been greater than the number of firearm homicides since at least 1981. But as firearm homicides have declined sharply, suicides have become a greater share of firearm deaths. In 2010, 61% of gun deaths were due to suicide, compared with about half in the mid-1990s. (The remaining firearm deaths, in addition to suicide and homicide, are accidental, of undetermined intent or the result of what the CDC terms “legal intervention,” generally a police shooting.)

Males are the vast majority of gun suicides (87% in 2010), and the suicide rate for males (11.2 deaths per 100,000 people) is more than seven times the female rate (1.5 deaths). The highest firearm suicide rate by age is among those ages 65 and older (10.6 per 100,000 people). The rate for older adults has been relatively steady in recent years; the rate is rising, though, among those ages 41-64, according to CDC data. Among the three largest racial and ethnic groups, whites have the highest suicide rate at 8.5 per 100,000, followed by blacks (2.7) and Hispanics (1.9).

Comparing homicide and suicide rates, suicide rates are higher than homicide rates for men; they are about equal for women. By age group, suicide rates are higher than homicide rates only for adults ages 41-64 and those ages 65 and older. Homicide rates are higher than suicide rates for blacks and Hispanics; for whites, the suicide rate is higher than the homicide rate. Detailed tables on gun suicide can be found in Appendix 1.

Gun Ownership

The number of firearms available for sale to or possessed by U.S. civilians has grown in recent years, according to the Congressional Research Service and other research. A 2012 CRS report estimated that about 310 million firearms were available to or owned by civilians in the U.S. in 2009—114 million handguns, 110 million rifles and 86 million shotguns (Congressional Research Service, 2012). The figure was derived from manufacturing, export and import data published by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The 2009 per capita rate of one person per gun in the U.S. had roughly doubled since 1968, the report said.

The 2007 Small Arms Survey, conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (Completing the Count, 2007), estimated that 270 million firearms were owned by private citizens in the U.S. that year,13 or about 90 firearms per 100 people. The Small Arms Survey relied on ATF data and independent surveys.

It is not clear, however, how many U.S. households owned guns or whether the share of gun-owning U.S. households has changed over time.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Pew Research Center, March 2013) 37% of adults say they or someone else in their household owns a Gun Ownership

The number of firearms available for sale to or possessed by U.S. civilians has grown in recent years, according to the Congressional Research Service and other research. A 2012 CRS report estimated that about 310 million firearms were available to or owned by civilians in the U.S. in 2009—114 million handguns, 110 million rifles and 86 million shotguns (Congressional Research Service, 2012). The figure was derived from manufacturing, export and import data published by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The 2009 per capita rate of one person per gun in the U.S. had roughly doubled since 1968, the report said.

The 2007 Small Arms Survey, conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (Completing the Count, 2007), estimated that 270 million firearms were owned by private citizens in the U.S. that year,13 or about 90 firearms per 100 people. The Small Arms Survey relied on ATF data and independent surveys.

It is not clear, however, how many U.S. households owned guns or whether the share of gun-owning U.S. households has changed over time.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Pew Research Center, March 2013) 37% of adults say they or someone else in their household owns a firearm of some kind. The 2012 General Social Survey (GSS) reports 34% do. However, a Gallup survey in 2012 found that 43% of respondents said there was at least one gun in their household.

Gallup survey data indicates that the share of households with guns is the same now as in 1972 (43%),

Respondent error or misstatement in surveys about gun ownership is a widely acknowledged concern of researchers. People may be reluctant to disclose ownership, especially if they are concerned that there may be future restrictions on gun possession or if they acquired their firearms illegally. For whatever reason, husbands are more likely than wives to say there is a firearm in their households (Wright et al., 2012). Household surveys do not cover all gun ownership; they include only firearms owned by people in households.

most research agrees that civilians in the United States own more firearms both total and per capita than those in any other nation. The Small Arms Survey in 2007 found not only that U.S. civilians had more total firearms than any other nation (270 million) but also that the rate of ownership (about 90 firearms for every 100 people) was higher than in other countries. “With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States is home to 35-50 per cent of the world’s civilian-owned guns,” according to the survey, which included estimates for 178 countries.

“Mexico, the USA and Northern Ireland stand out with the highest percentages gun-related attacks (16%, 6% and 6% respectively).” The U.S. had the highest share of sexual assault involving guns.

Teen Suicide, Struggling Teen

You can't unfire
a fire arm

 

It’s not the bullet that kills you, it’s the hole. Call 911.

 

“Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.”

“The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand … Why?” – Clark (2001)

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

“Never never never give up.” – Winston Churchill

 
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