Recent evidence supports a strong relationship between access to guns and suicide: According to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than half of the nearly 39,000 people who reportedly killed themselves in the US last year, did so with a firearm.
A comparison of states with high rates of gun ownership to states with low rates of gun ownership showed that the latter group had similar rates of depression and suicidal thoughts and similar rates of suicide that did not involve guns. The number of people who died by shooting themselves was almost four times greater in states with high rates of gun ownership.
Veterans have also had high incidence of suicide in recent years. The suicide rate in the Army exceeds that of the general US population. Nearly 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide do so with a gun.
Limiting access to guns would help reduce the suicide rate in the US.Where to Find Help
If you or a loved one experience suicidal thoughts or impulses, access the nearest Emergency Department. If there is an indication of depression, which may include suicidal thoughts, the Zucker Hillside Hospital offers specialized ambulatory programs for children, adolescents, adults and senior citizens. Furthermore, North Shore-LIJ offers programs for veterans and their families in Manhasset and Bay Shore.
This post was written by Victor Fornari, MD, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at North Shore University Hospital, LIJ Medical Center (including Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York and Zucker Hillside Hospital).
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