Population Health

September 4, 2019

New study shows gun stores can help prevent suicides

Brett Bass, a gun retailer and coordinator of Forefront Suicide Prevention’s Safer Homes, Suicide Aware program, talks with a customer about firearm safetyFirearms are commonly used and the most lethal means of suicide nationwide. A new University of Washington study has found that firearm retailers around Washington state are willing to learn about suicide prevention and to train their employees in how to spot and act on suicide warning signs.

The findings from the survey of nearly 200 independent firearm retailers across the state demonstrate the potential for key community members to be proactive in helping to prevent people from taking their own lives.

The study, believed to be first to look at what influences firearm retailers in suicide prevention efforts, also finds that a lack of awareness of the role of firearms in suicide, as well as a reluctance to talk to customers about personal issues, likely inhibit greater progress in suicide prevention.

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