Study finds that gun owners don’t typically report suicidal feelings
COLUMBUS, Ohio (KJCT) - The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recently released a study that claims gun owners are less likely to report when they experience suicidal ideation compared to those who don’t own firearms, and the reason could be based in how mental health questions are worded.
The study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that the standard questions used to identify at-risk individuals may be falling short. “Not everyone experiences suicidal ideation in the same way. So, maybe our traditional ways of asking about suicidal thoughts are incomplete,” said Craig Bryan, a clinical psychologist and director of the Division of Recovery and Resilience at Ohio State’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. “Just a simple shift in questioning, adding one more different perspective or a different angle to ask about suicidal thoughts could potentially help us to identify people who are in a vulnerable state.”
Firearms are the most common and most fatal method of suicide. Bryan says that assessments could avoid this blind spots by specifically asking if the patient has considered a method of suicide, which gun owners are more inclined to answer. He also said that combining more comprehensive questions with simple barriers to immediate gun access, such as locking firearms in a safe or asking someone they trust to store them, can save lives.
“Suicidal crises tend to come on suddenly, but don’t last very long. So, if we limit access to lethal methods during that short window of time, that could potentially prevent a suicide,” said Bryan.
If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal urges or ideation, help can be found by calling 800-273-TALK, or by texting 741741.
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