topside

Reduce Access to Lethal Means

Promote efforts to reduce access to lethal means
among people at risk of suicide.





Objective:
   Promote the safe storage of medications, poisons, and firearms.

WHAT VERMONT CAN DO

Individuals & Families:

  • Take action to decrease access to lethal means among individuals at risk for suicide – lethal means can include weapons and medication, but can also mean cars, bridges, cleaning solutions and herbicides.
  • Store guns safely – locked and unloaded – and secure any other dangerous means, such as medications.
  • Recognize that this does not involve keeping the person away from dangers forever – it involves decreasing access to lethal means that are dangers when that person is in a suicidal state, which is usually a time-limited experience. The majority of suicidal individuals, if prevented from accessing their planned means, will not substitute one means of death for another.

Organizations:

  • Non-profit, Community-Based, Faith-Based, and Businesses
  • Provide tools, resources, and information to your constituency that help them ask a suicidal individual about lethal means, and then reduce access.
  • Encourage law enforcement and other providers that work with suicidal individuals to routinely assess and ask about the presence of lethal means (including firearms, drugs and poisons) in the home and educate clients and their families about associated risks and approaches that minimize risk.
  • Train professionals and other adults that offer services to individuals at risk for suicide about the risk of firearms and suicide, and how to talk to and educate families about reducing access.

For information about how gun shop owners are trying to help go to our page on the Gun Shop Project under Resources

  • Partner with firearm dealers, gun owners, and firing ranges to include suicide awareness as a basic tenet of firearm safety and responsible firearm ownership.
  • Provide education about the role substance abuse can play in increasing the use of guns and other lethal means.

Schools, Colleges, and Universities:

  • Train faculty and staff in the importance of reducing lethal means in a suicidal crisis, and provide them the training and resources that will help them ask a suicidal individual about lethal means, and then reduce access.
  • Provide education about the role substance abuse can play in increasing the use of guns and other lethal means.

Healthcare:

  • Encourage primary healthcare, emergency room providers, mental health professionals and any other providers that work with suicidal individuals to routinely assess and ask about the presence of lethal means (including firearms, drugs and poisons) in the home.
  • Train healthcare professionals in how to talk to patients, clients and their families about the risks of lethal means and possible approaches that minimize risk.
  • Provide education about the role substance abuse can play in increasing the use of guns and other lethal means.

Policy and Systems:

  • Explore and support policies that ensure suicidal individuals do not have access to lethal means.