Multiple studies show an increase in suicide among people ages 10 to 24. With the added challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is feared the stressors may be exasperated. To help families struggling with these challenges, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) joined to create a guide for parents, “Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms.”
Sponsored by the NSSF AND Project ChildSafe
Available on the Project ChildSafe website, a downloadable guide offers many different resources for parents concerned about their child’s risk of suicide. It includes information on mental health, how to recognize if a child needs help and what to do if warning signs for suicide are present.
1. Identify the warning signs that indicate a child may be struggling with mental health and/or having suicidal thoughts.
2. Understand how to respond (versus react) to these warning signs.
3. Create a safe home environment that prevents access to lethal means.
When a person is thought to be potentially suicidal, removing or reducing access to lethal means may possibly stop a tragedy. This guide suggests different ways to secure or store these items, which include, but are not limited to the following things: firearms, prescription or illicit drugs, alcohol, chemicals and weapons – including knives, dangerous tools or even, the family car.
Another section of the website, “Being There for Your Friends: A Guide to Helping Prevent Suicide,” contains a peer guide. It includes warning signs to watch for and what to do, along with additional resources. These resources all are downloadable as PDFS.
Find more information about “Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms” here.
If you are in crisis please look into these resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.TALK(8255)
Lifeline Chat: SUICIDEPREVENTIONLIFELINE.ORG/CHAT
Crisis Text Line: Text “TALK” to 741741
Emergency Response: Call 911