FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 17, 2021
Alyson Malinger, West End Strategy Team
Legislation to Fund Youth Suicide Prevention, Lethal Means Safety Will Save Lives
The Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act will help health care professionals, youth and their families reduce risk of firearm suicide
WASHINGTON — Following the introduction of the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act (H.R.5035) in the House, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) applauded its introduction and stressed the importance of suicide prevention and culturally appropriate lethal means safety counseling to help curb the public health epidemic of gun violence in the United States. CDC data shows that the vast majority of gun deaths in the United States are suicides.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Director of Research Translation Vicka Chaplin issued the following statement in support of the legislation:
“The Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), will save lives. The bill meets an urgent need to expand training opportunities and resources for health care providers on youth suicide prevention and culturally appropriate lethal means safety counseling.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24, and suicide attempts involving firearms are nearly always fatal. Lethal means safety counseling is an effective intervention designed to assess whether a patient at risk for suicide has access to firearms or other lethal means, and then work with them and their family to reduce their access to those items. Despite its effectiveness, however, the vast majority of healthcare providers receive no training on youth suicide prevention and counseling methods.
“Interventions by healthcare providers can affect how parents store guns, reduce the risk of suicide and save lives. We applaud our friend and ally Congresswoman Underwood for championing this important legislation that will be a major step in ensuring no child dies during personal moments of despair. We encourage the committees to move quickly to bring this life-saving legislation to the floor for a vote.”
The Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group organized and staffed by CSGV’s sister organization, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, was instrumental in bringing attention to lethal means safety counseling as an area for policy development. The Consortium, which includes many of the nation’s leading experts in gun violence prevention, law, public and behavioral health, also endorsed the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act. In a 2017 comprehensive report on the role of health care provider training programs, “Breaking Through Barriers: The Emerging Role of Healthcare Provider Training Programs in Firearm Suicide Prevention,” the Consortium made recommendations that if implemented, would “equip healthcare providers to deal tactfully, respectfully and directly with the issue of firearms and suicide.”
About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.