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Background: Some shooting ranges have adopted policies to prevent suicides at their facilities. Little data have been available to guide them. Aim: We aimed to describe the incidence and characteristics of suicides at public shooting ranges. Method: We conducted text searches of 63,710 firearm suicides in the 16 states participating in the National Violent Death Reporting System from 2004 to 2015 to identify those occurring at public shooting ranges. Results: A total of 118 (or 0.18%) occurred at a shooting range, or 0.12 per million population. If that rate held for the nation as a whole, there would have been roughly 35 shooting range suicides per year during the study period. In total, 88% of decedents arrived alone. When gun ownership was noted, 86% of guns were rented from the range. In some cases, people drove to the range and took their lives in the parking lot with their own gun. Limitations: Our search strategy may have missed cases, and the data may not be nationally representative. Conclusion: Suicides at shooting ranges are rare. Policies that some ranges have adopted – such as allowing rentals only if the person is not alone – are responsive to the actual characteristics of these deaths and could potentially prevent most.
Non-fatal self-harm is one of the most frequent reasons for emergency hospital admission and the strongest risk factor for subsequent suicide. Repeat self-harm and suicide are key clinical outcomes of the hospital management of self-harm. We have undertaken a comprehensive review of the international literature on the incidence of fatal and non-fatal repeat self-harm and investigated factors influencing variation in these estimates as well as changes in the incidence of repeat self-harm and suicide over the last 30 years.
Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Google Scholar, article reference lists and personal paper collections of the authors were searched for studies describing rates of fatal and non-fatal self-harm amongst people who presented to health care services for deliberate self-harm. Heterogeneity in pooled estimates of repeat self-harm incidence was investigated using stratified meta-analysis and meta-regression. The search identified 177 relevant papers. The risk of suicide in the 12 months after an index attempt was 1.6% (CI 1.2-2.4) and 3.9% (CI 3.2-4.8) after 5 years. The estimated 1 year rate of non-fatal repeat self-harm was 16.3% (CI 15.1-17.7). This proportion was considerably lower in Asian countries (10.0%, CI 7.3-13.6%) and varies between studies identifying repeat episodes using hospital admission data (13.7%, CI 12.3-15.3) and studies using patient report (21.9%, CI 14.3-32.2). There was no evidence that the incidence of repeat self-harm was lower in more recent (post 2000) studies compared to those from the 1980s and 1990s.
One in 25 patients presenting to hospital for self-harm will kill themselves in the next 5 years. The incidence of repeat self-harm and suicide in this population has not changed in over 10 years. Different methods of identifying repeat episodes of self-harm produce varying estimates of incidence and this heterogeneity should be considered when evaluating interventions aimed at reducing non-fatal repeat self-harm.
This article presents new data on the nature of suicidal crises in college students. Data were collected from over 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students at 70 colleges and universities. An anonymous Web-based survey was designed to provide insight into the full spectrum of suicidal thought, intent, and action among college students. The authors discuss implications of these data and outline a new, problem-focused paradigm for conceptualizing the problem of college student suicidality and for guiding institutional policies and interventions at multiple points along the continuum of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The proposed paradigm encompasses and expands on the current model of treating individuals in crisis in order to act preventively to reduce both prevalence and incidence of all forms of suicidality among college students. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
To investigate the epidemiology of a steep decrease in the incidence of suicide deaths in Australia.
National data on suicide deaths and deliberate self-harm for the period 1994-2007 were obtained from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. We calculated attempt and death rates for five major methods and the lethality of these methods. Negative binomial regression was used to estimate the size and significance of method-specific time-trends in attempts and lethality.
Hanging, motor vehicle exhaust and firearms were the most lethal methods, and together accounted for 72% of all deaths. The lethality of motor vehicle exhaust attempts decreased sharply (RR = 0.94 per year, 95% CI 0.93-0.95) while the motor vehicle exhaust attempt rate changed little; this combination of motor vehicle exhaust trends explained nearly half of the overall decline in suicide deaths. Hanging lethality also decreased sharply (RR = 0.96 per year, 95% CI 0.956-0.965) but large increases in hanging attempts negated the effect on death rates. Firearm lethality changed little while attempts decreased.
Declines in the lethality of suicide attempts-especially attempts by motor vehicle exhaust and hanging-explain the remarkable decline in deaths by suicide in Australia since 1997.
This study examined incidence rates of medically identified suicide acts (self-inflicted injuries, either fatal or nonfatal) and case fatality rates by age, sex, race, and method used.
The authors analyzed data on 10,892 suicides and 57,439 attempted suicides among hospital-admitted individuals in 8 states, along with 6219 attempted suicides among individuals released from emergency departments in 2 states.
The 8 states experienced a mean of 11 suicides and 119 attempted suicides per 100,000 residents each year. Groups with high suicide rates were men, the elderly, and Whites; groups with high attempted suicide rates were teenagers, young adults, women, and Blacks and Whites aged 25 to 44 years. Blacks aged 15 to 44 years evidenced high attempted suicide rates undocumented in previous studies. Poisoning and firearm were the most common methods used among those attempting suicide and those completing suicide acts, respectively. The most lethal method was firearm.
The characteristics of suicides and attempted suicides differ dramatically. Method used is important in the lethality of the act.
To examine the prevalence of household firearms and firearm-storage practices in the 50 states and the District of Columbia and estimate the number of children exposed to unsafe storage practices.
We analyzed data from the 2002 cross-sectional Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey of 240735 adults from randomly selected households with telephones in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Nationally, 32.6% of adults reported that firearms were kept in or around their home. The prevalence of adults with household firearms ranged from 5.2% in the District of Columbia to 62.8% in Wyoming (median: 40.8%). The prevalence of adults with loaded household firearms ranged from 1.6% in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey to 19.2% in Alabama (median: 7.0%), and the prevalence of adults with loaded and unlocked household firearms ranged from 0.4% in Massachusetts to 12.7% in Alabama (median: 4.2%). Among adults with children and youth <18 years old, the prevalence of loaded household firearms ranged from 1.0% to 13.4% (median: 5.3%), and the prevalence of loaded and unlocked household firearms ranged from 0.3% to 7.3% (median: 2.3%); in each instance, Massachusetts had the lowest prevalence and Alabama had the highest. Findings indicate that approximately 1.69 million (95% confidence interval: 1.57-1.82 million) children and youth in the United States <18 years old are living with loaded and unlocked household firearms.
Substantial state variations exist in the prevalence of household firearms and firearm-storage practices. It is vital that surveillance systems such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System continue to monitor the prevalence of household firearms and firearm-storage practices so that future interventions to promote safe storage of firearms can be evaluated and more widely implemented based on their efficacy.
Purpose of Review
About half of all suicide deaths in the USA are by firearm. Putting time and distance between a person in suicidal crisis and means of inflicting lethal force is an effective suicide prevention strategy. The current review summarizes the emerging literature on the involvement of firearm stakeholders in community-based efforts to reduce access to lethal means for people at risk for suicide.
A small but growing set of scholarly articles indicates that the personal values underlying firearm ownership need not be impediments to firearm suicide prevention. By engaging gun owners in helping to craft culturally relevant messages and encouraging trusting and mutually respectful relationships between gun owners and non-gun-owners, it is possible to advance toward a common goal of reducing death and suffering.
If fewer people in suicidal crisis have ready access to firearms, the USA will see a reduction in its suicide rate. To date, the academic literature on lethal means reduction predominantly consists of healthcare-based, clinician-led interventions. An emerging literature on community-based, firearm stakeholder-engaged efforts suggests that these inclusive models present major opportunities to amplify key messages and normalize life-saving behaviors.
Data from a nationally representative probability-based online survey sample of US adults conducted in 2015 (n = 3949, response rate 55%) were used to assess self-reported gun storage practices among gun owners with children. The presence of firearms and children in the home, along with other household and individual level characteristics, was ascertained from all respondents. Questions pertaining to household firearms (how guns are stored, number, type, etc.) were asked only of those respondents who reported that they personally owned a gun. We found that approximately one in three US households contains at least one firearm, regardless of whether children lived in the home (0.34 [0.29–0.39]) or not (0.35 [0.32–0.38]). Among gun-owning households with children, approximately two in ten gun owners store at least one gun in the least safe manner, i.e., loaded and unlocked (0.21 [0.17–0.26]); three in ten store all guns in the safest manner, i.e., unloaded and locked (0.29, [0.24–0.34]; and the remaining half (0.50 [0.45–0.55]) store firearms in some other way. Although firearm storage practices do not appear to vary across some demographic characteristics, including age, sex, and race, gun owners are more likely to store at least one gun loaded and unlocked if they are female (0.31 [0.23–0.41]) vs. male (0.17 [0.13–0.22]); own at least one handgun (0.27 [0.22–0.32] vs. no handguns (0.05 [0.02–0.15]); or own firearms for protection (0.29 [0.24–0.35]) vs. do not own for protection (0.03 [0.01–0.08]). Approximately 7% of US children (4.6 million) live in homes in which at least one firearm is stored loaded and unlocked, an estimate that is more than twice as high as estimates reported in 2002, the last time a nationally representative survey assessed this outcome. To the extent that the high prevalence of children exposed to unsafe storage that we observe reflects a secular change in public opinion towards the belief that having a gun in the home makes the home safer, rather than less safe, interventions that aim to make homes safer for children should address this misconception. Guidance alone, such as that offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has fallen short. Our findings underscore the need for more active and creative efforts to reduce children’s exposure to unsafely stored firearms.
In a small Western town in the fall of 2015, a gun shop owner stood up at a suicide prevention conference and said that he had been approached as part of the suicide problem in the past, but this was the first time he was approached as part of the solution. He joined a fledgling movement gaining momentum around the nation that brings gun shop owners, firearm instructors, and gun rights stakeholders together with health professionals to prevent suicide. Rather than squaring off against one another—as exemplified by passage of Florida’s so-called “Docs vs Glocks” law (Fla Stat §790.338) that prohibits physicians from routinely asking patients about guns—participants jointly devise strategies to put time and distance between a suicidal person and a firearm. Seven years ago, when this work began in New Hampshire, similar projects did not exist. Today projects are under way in more than 20 states. We provide background on this work and discuss its implications for clinical care.
A spate of suicides involving a just-purchased firearm led a statewide coalition of firearm dealers, firearm rights advocates, and suicide prevention professionals to discuss the role of gun shops in preventing suicide. The group developed and mailed materials for (1) firearm retailers on avoiding sales to suicidal customers and (2) their customers on suicide and firearm safety. All storefront retailers were identified (n = 65), visited unannounced 6 months after receiving materials, and asked to complete a survey. Nearly half (48%) had at least one campaign product on display. Belief that reducing a suicidal person's access to firearms might save a life was associated with displaying materials (69% vs. 41%, p = .06). Public health and gun groups can successfully collaborate on suicide prevention activities.
This paper reports the subsequent mortality of 94 persons who attempted suicide by jumping in front of London Underground trains between 1977 and 1979. The follow-up period was 10 yr. Despite the apparent seriousness of the method, completion of suicide was not found to be higher than in previous studies of attempted suicide by other methods. By the end of the follow-up period 18 persons had died, nine of natural causes. Coroners' inquests were held for the unnatural deaths. Seven verdicts of suicide and two of accidental death were recorded. Of the nine unnatural deaths four were from multiple injuries, three from drowning, one from asphyxia and one from acute narcotic poisoning. All four multiple injury deaths were women, three of these were from repeated incidents involving London Underground trains. The time interval between the index attempt and eventual death for the suicide/accident group ranged from 1 day to 43 months. For ethical reasons it was not possible to follow-up attempted suicides who were presumed to have remained alive.
This paper describes a new surveillance system called the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), initiated by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NVDRS's mission is the collection of detailed, timely information on all violent deaths.
NVDRS is a population based, active surveillance system designed to obtain a complete census of all resident and occurrent violent deaths. Each state collects information on its own deaths from death certificates, medical examiner/coroner files, law enforcement records, and crime laboratories. Deaths occurring in the same incident are linked. Over 270 data elements can be collected on each incident.
The 13 state health departments of Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Cases consist of violent deaths from suicide, homicide, undetermined intent, legal intervention, and unintentional firearm injury. Information is collected on suspects as well as victims.
The quality of surveillance will be measured in terms of its acceptability, accuracy, sensitivity, timeliness, utility, and cost.
The system has just been started. There are no results as yet.
NVDRS has achieved enough support to begin data collection efforts in selected states. This system will need to overcome the significant barriers to such a large data collection effort. Its success depends on the use of its data to inform and assess violence prevention efforts. If successful, it will open a new chapter in the use of empirical information to guide public policy around violence in the United States.
Suicidal customers see a way out at gun ranges
Florida's largest gun dealer bans gun rentals in wake of suicides
H P Curtis
Gun range staff struggling with 3 recent suicides
More than 20,000 Americans a year kill themselves with a gun