Gun training in US fails to include suicide preventionAug 14, 2017
The low percentage of owners who have received training in suicide prevention is notable because there is a strong association between gun access and suicide, Dr. Emmy Betz, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Core Faculty, Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.
“How do we reach the people who own firearms?” she said in a phone interview. “How do we work together in ways that are respectful and collaborative to prevent unintentional and accidental shootings?”
Betz, who wasn’t involved in the study, coordinates gun safety nights tailored to specific groups. At Ladies Night at Centennial Gun Club in Centennial, Colorado, for example, women meet twice a month to practice shooting and discuss suicide prevention.
“Working in the emergency room, I see different gunshot wounds related to domestic violence, suicide and accidents,” she said. “It’s important to remember there are different kinds of firearm injuries and deaths.”
Ladies Night focuses on safe storage and teen suicide, for example, but other programs run by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the NH Firearm Safety Coalition target inner-city violence or middle-aged workers who are depressed and at risk for suicide.
“Every firearm death is tragic, and both firearm owners and non-owners should know about safe storage, self-protection and suicide,” Betz said. “As individuals in communities, we can work together on this and set aside the divisive national debate about firearms.”
Story excerpt from Reuters article, August 8, 2017.