Addressing Firearm Safety in Your Suicidal Patient A research brief
41,000 PERSONS DIE by suicide annually in the United States
FIREARMS account for over 50% OF DEATHS BY SUICIDE
Links and Resources
Click on the button below to copy the webpage source code you’ll need to place this content on the provider section of your website. Once you place the source code on your own website, the button will appear and providers can click the button to get this important firearm safety and suicide prevention information.
Click on the button below to copy the webpage source code you’ll need to place firearm safety information for patients on the homepage of your website. Once you place the source code on your own website, the button will appear and patients can click the button to get important firearm safety and suicide prevention information.
Gun ownership is a normal part of life in America. In rural areas, a high percentage, if not all, of your patients will have guns in their home. Having a conversation with suicidal persons about temporarily removing firearms from the home has great promise to save lives.
Emerging Research Suggests:
- Primary care providers are hesitant to discuss firearms with patients.
- Firearm owners find questions about guns in the home invasive and resist answering questions truthfully on intake forms.
- Data entered into electronic health records during patient contact time raises patients’ suspicion that data will become part of a federal registry of gun owners.
- Trust is critical to having an effective conversation about temporarily removing access to firearms.
- Rural areas have higher rates of suicide.
- Firearms are the most common method of death by suicide.
- 64% of people who die by suicide see their primary care provider within a year of dying.
- Reducing access to firearms lowers suicide rates.
Tips for Putting Research into Practice:
- Suggest with a tentative tone rather than asking directly about firearms, for example, say: “If you have guns in the home, now might be a good time to talk about it.”
- Ask generally: “What can we do to keep you safe?”
- Normalize gun ownership by asking: “Can we talk about your guns?”
- If the patient tells you they have firearms, tell them that you respect their 2nd amendment rights and you want to find a way to keep them safe.
- Make a safety plan that includes a plan for temporarily removing firearms. Bring a trusted friend or family member into the conversation, if the patient is willing.
- Suggest that: “Now might be a good time to have a friend or family member hold your guns temporarily.”
- Move away from your computer while talking. Stop entering information into the EHR. Patients may feel their rights are being compromised.