New Paper Applies Social Ecological Model to Firearm Suicide Prevention

For Immediate Release: Jun 26, 2018

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New paper from the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence featured in Injury Prevention

Washington, DC (June 26, 2018) —  The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) is pleased to announce the release of a new paper in Injury Prevention.

The paper, entitled “Limiting Access to Lethal Means: Applying the Social Ecological Model for Firearm Suicide Prevention,” was authored by the Ed Fund public health team and outlines a novel application of the social ecological model for firearm suicide prevention.

There is substantive research linking access to firearms with an increased risk of firearm suicide. Reducing access to lethal means is a critical component of a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy. This paper focuses on the four social ecological model levels of intervention (societal, relationship, community, individual) and applies the model to individuals at an elevated risk of suicide.

The paper was funded through a partnership with the Hope and Heal Fund.

Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Director of Public Health Research Adelyn Allchin issued the following statement:

“Firearm suicide is one of the most underreported, under-discussed, misunderstood aspects of American gun violence. In the past, Americans have looked at firearm suicides — three-fifths of gun deaths — and said nothing could have prevented these fatalities. This simply isn’t true.

“Firearm suicide is preventable. This paper provides a blueprint for intervention at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels.

“An individual who knows that they are at a higher risk of suicidality can take steps to protect themselves — like pursuing safer storage options or not having a gun in the home at all. A family member or friend may help the individual store their firearms more safely, while a medical professional can provide lethal means safety counseling as part of their care. The person’s community can enact change through gun shop projects. And our society can work to pass stronger gun laws, such as extreme risk laws, to provide tools that have been shown to reduce firearm suicides.

“At each level of the social ecological model, there are tools that work in concert to save lives. By applying them simultaneously, we can create a multi-pronged strategy to address our firearm suicide problem and reduce the 20,000 gun suicide deaths we see each year.”

Hope and Heal Fund Executive Director Brian Malte issued the following statement:

“Suicides represent the majority of gun deaths in America, but are too often overlooked in gun violence prevention efforts. We’re proud to support this innovative research to prevent gun suicides and save lives.”

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