Suicide and Guns
This brochure highlights the risks of
having a gun in the home. Adolescent suicide rates have been increasing
in the United States, and research demonstrates a link between handguns
in the home and completed teen suicide. States with the highest gun
ownership rates also have the highest rates of completed teen suicides.
While many parents may be unaware of the epidemiology of teenage suicide,
all are concerned about the issue. When discussing firearmrelated
topics, it is important to note that there are many different opinions
among parents about gun ownership and storage. Using this brochure
may help communicate the message objectively.
How to Use This Tool
- As a primary prevention tool, this brochure can be used
individually with parents to support counseling or distributed in
cooperation with school and community groups.
- Parents of teens with mood disorders should be counseled
about the risks of teen suicide and may benefit from reading
this brochure. As parents and other caregivers may disagree
about the dangers of firearms in the home, the provision of
written, objective advice from a trusted source may be helpful.
- Try to tie in anticipatory guidance with events in one's own
clinical experience or recent events in the newspaper. For example,
clinicians can hand out this brochure and comment, "Did you
read in the newspaper about the teen who killed himself last month?
I'm getting quite concerned about all of my teenage patients."
- Another important point for parents to understand is that many
teen suicides are impulsive. The time between a teenager's decision
to commit suicide and the attempt is very brief. Most teenagers
who survive suicide attempts are glad they lived and are unlikely
to go on to commit suicide. You can express this by saying, "Teenagers
are passionate. Sometimes, they get so carried away in the heat
of the moment that their actions are not just unwise, but deadly.?
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