Lethal Means: Removing Access

Removing access to firearms and other lethal means is important for individuals of all age groups. Adolescents are especially at risk of deciding impulsively to escape their pain by suicide.

Detailed information about the methods discussed below is easily accessible in a variety of formats including books and the Internet. It is critical for parents and caregivers to be aware of what their loved ones are viewing.

Hanging

  • Hanging is the third leading method of suicide for females.

Medications

  • In the home of a potentially suicidal person, it is vital that all prescription and over-the-counter medications be removed from, or locked up, in the house.
  • Parents or caregivers can talk about their concerns with the medical care provider prescribing the medication; and ask that non-lethal doses be dispensed.
  • Adults needing prescription medications can carry the medicines on their person.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol is often involved in a suicide.
  • It is very important that alcohol be removed from, or locked up, in the home.
  • Poisoning is the most common method of non-fatal self-inflicted injuries for both males and females.

Firearms

Jumping

  • Studies have clearly shown that bridge barriers prevent suicides, particularly impulsive suicides. Barriers erected at many locations worldwide that had become popular sites from which to jump, have effectively reduced suicide rates.
  • Individuals who have jumped, and survived, have talked about how they realized after jumping, that they wanted to live.
  • The widespread belief that a suicide will inevitably occur in some other way if not by jumping from a bridge is unfounded. Suicidal feelings are not permanent, they come and go. If the means is not immediately available to a suicidal person, chances are they will not attempt by another method, especially if they get connected to helping resources.