Feb 18 2013

Recommended Reading: Suicides More Likely in States with High Gun Ownership

An article in the New York Times reports that health departments in some states are increasing their efforts on gun safety and suicide prevention in part because of a startling finding by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health: far more Americans die from guns they aim at themselves than in mass shootings.

By the numbers:

  • Nearly 20,000 of the 30,000 deaths from guns in the United States in 2010 were suicides.
  • Wyoming, Montana and Alaska are the states with the three highest suicide rates; they’re also on the list of top gun owning states.
  • The national suicide rate has climbed by 12 percent since 2003.
  • Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for teenagers.
  • Suicide attempts using a gun are fatal 85 percent of the time; suicide attempts with pills are successful 2 percent of the time.

State health departments in Missouri, North Carolina and Wyoming, the state with the highest suicide rate, are giving out gunlocks. In New Hampshire some gun shops post flyers with warning signs for suicide and a recommendation to keep guns from people who are at risk of harming themselves. Some gun owners in Maryland are considering a similar outreach project.

>>Read the article.

>>Bonus Link: Read a NewPublicHealth post about the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, launched last year.

Tags: Mental Health, Mental and Emotional Well-Being, Public and Community Health, Recommended Reading, Violence