Teams of health professionals, gun owners work to prevent gun suicides

In various locations around the country, public health professionals have partnered with gun owners to develop strategies aimed at reducing gun suicides.

For example, a team in Bend, Ore., including a family doctor and rural firearm owners, created a brochure that helps people recognize when a friend or family member is going through a rough patch, according to a September 12, 2019 article from NBC affiliate KGW8 in Portland. The team is also developing an online training course to help Oregon health care professionals identify suicidal behavior.

The article quoted Catherine Barber, director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Means Matter program, which works to reduce a suicidal person’s access to guns. Barber has been part of a longstanding partnership in New Hampshire between gun enthusiasts and public health professionals—the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition—and has also worked with gun owners in Utah.

She told KGW8 that a recent Utah public service announcement aims to prevent suicides by emphasizing the importance of temporarily holding a friend’s guns if that person seems depressed. “Here is something that encapsulates the whole message of not waiting for a person to ask for help, that friends are aware when friends are having trouble,” she said.

Barber was also quoted in a September 12 Yahoo article on preventing gun suicides.

Read the KGW8 article: Gun owners and mental health professionals aligning on suicide prevention

Read the Yahoo article: The leading method of suicide in America is firearms. Here’s how gun-control policies can help

Learn more

Gun owner groups, health professionals team up to prevent suicides (Harvard Chan School feature)