About 47,000 Americans die by suicide annually; more than half are by firearm. Now, researchers at Florida State University have found that certain clinical steps that encourage basic firearm safety could reduce that number.
Their study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, focused on young adults with a history of suicidal thoughts and who reported firearm familiarity, such as gun ownership, access or intention to obtain a firearm.
Safe storage or limiting access to firearms can reduce the risk of suicide, and researchers sought to find the best means of getting at-risk individuals to cooperate with those procedures. They found that when clinicians emphasized that limited access is temporary during periods of elevated suicide risk, individuals were more likely to report intentions to safely store their firearms.
Ian Stanley, a doctoral student in clinical psychology, said tackling the issue of firearm safety in the context of suicide prevention can be a difficult topic.