Keeping Our Loved Ones Safe
Restricting Access to Lethal Means Can Save Lives
When it comes to keeping suicidal people safe from harm, reducing their access to means of self-injury is one of the most important steps we can take. After all, it’s commonplace for us to place barriers between vulnerable people and something that might harm them, whether fencing around a swimming pool, childproof caps on bottles of medication, or locked and alarmed doors that lead to rooftops. Many of these steps can protect suicidal individuals as well as preventing unintentional injuries.
Research has shown that restricting lethal means, such as firearms, makes a difference:
- Removing access to the most deadly means improves the odds that a suicide
attempt won’t result in death.
- It “buys time” for the person to get help and to recover from their crisis.
- Nearly 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die from
suicide; they are able to change their minds, find reasons for living, and
learn to cope with their feelings.
- For many suicidal people, the period of feeling suicidal lasts for a very short
time, often less than an hour. But if they get their hands on a loaded gun
during that period, the outcome can be fatal.
If you live with someone who is feeling suicidal, consider taking these measures:
Always keep firearms locked and unloaded. Consider keeping the key with a trusted
friend outside the home or even in a safe deposit box. You may want to secure the
firearms safely outside of the home with a family member, shooting club, or a gun
shop. Visit StopFirearmSuicideSD.org for more information.
Store medications in a locked box. Safely dispose of medications you no longer need
by taking them to one of the disposal sites located at several law enforcement
locations, as well as many CVS pharmacies. Find a complete list at: https://www.
Review your home from the point of view of someone who wants to harm themselves
and remove sharp objects or other potential means.