August 29, 2022
What Firearm Retailers and Ranges Can Do for Suicide Prevention Month this September
Participating can help save a life!
The majority of firearm-related deaths annually are suicides, not homicides or accidents. Understanding this, the firearm industry can play a role in reducing the rate of suicide by helping to educate employees and firearm owners and their families about mental health, suicide prevention and how to recognize and respond when a person is going through a difficult time.
We all have mental health just as we all have physical health; both need to be cared for. Delivering this and other messages to gun owners is where we all come in. Industry and NSSF serve as trusted messengers to overcome barriers when providing education to gun owners—education developed in collaboration with our partners, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Firearm retailers and shooting ranges can help deliver this education during Suicide Prevention Month (September) and also year-round by engaging in one or more of these strategies:
- USE the AFSP-NSSF Suicide Prevention Toolkit materials at your business. The toolkit is free to order and contains a poster, counter cards, window clings, a brochure for customers and a postvention brochure providing guidance in case your business experiences a suicide.
- EDUCATE your staff about warning signs, risk factors and intervention techniques by having them watch the SHOT University e-learning module, developed by NSSF and AFSP.
- PROMOTE discounts and sales of secure firearm storage devices. Storage devices put “time and space” between a person with suicidal thoughts and a method of self-harm.
- PROMOTE training courses on responsible firearm use and ownership.
- HOST an AFSP “Talk Saves Lives” presentation at your business or help sponsor one in your community. Talk Saves Lives provides an overview of how individuals can help prevent suicide. NSSF contributed to the content of Talk Saves Lives to ensure it’s respectful of gun owners. Your state’s AFSP chapter can arrange a presentation.
- HOST a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) course at your business or help sponsor one in your community. QPR provides training to individuals so they can help a person in crisis; it can save lives.
- RUN the VA’s “Space Between Time and Trigger” video ads on your website or social media page. The ads come in 15-, 30- and 60-second versions. The videos can be accessed at Keepitsecure.net.
- MAKE customers aware of the FirearmLifePlan.org. The website, which NSSF advised on, offers tools to help people think about the disposition of firearms later in life and protects families from the burden of making difficult decisions without guidance.
- PARTNER with local law enforcement to promote NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program in your community to remind gun owners to securely store firearms when not in use and educate children about gun safety.
- PROMOTE NSSF’s Parents Guide to Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms—a response to rising youth suicide rates and firearm misuse.
Learn more about these resources and programs by clicking the URL in their descriptions above or reach out to NSSF at [email protected] for assistance.