From American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health, and we need to take care of both. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance abuse, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.
So have your buddy’s back. Trust your gut. If you’re worried, it’s okay to let them know you care. Talk to them and ask them directly about suicide. We know through research that asking about suicidal thoughts won’t put someone at greater risk. In most cases, they’ll feel relieved that someone cares enough to show concern.
So learn the common risk factors and warning signs for suicide, so you know them when you see them. Encourage storing guns securely, locked and unloaded. Temporarily removing firearms from the home to prevent access by a person struggling with their mental health is also an option. Help the person get the support they need — when they need it.
Do the same for yourself. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. If you’re going through a tough time and exhibiting some of the warning signs, ask a buddy for help. Ask him to connect you with support and to help store your guns securely until you feel more like yourself again.
Remember: those who don’t have easy access to a lethal method will not seek a substitute method of self-harm. Most live through it and regain their usual ways of coping. Preventing access to firearms and other lethal means allows time for both the moment of intense suicidal crisis to pass, and for someone to intervene with potentially lifesaving mental health support and resources.
Storing Firearms Securely
Gun owners can choose from multiple options for securely storing and protecting firearms when they’re not in use: cable locks, lock boxes, gun cases and full size gun safes. Temporary offsite storage of firearms should be considered during the period of suicide risk.
AFSP & NSSF Firearms and Suicide Prevention brochure
There’s no single cause. Suicide most often occurs when several stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common health condition associated with suicide, and is often undiagnosed or untreated. Most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance abuse, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide.