Mitigating Risk of Firearm Suicide

Whether directly or indirectly, your family has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruptions it has caused can create many negative feelings and behavior, including the following:

  • Loneliness
  • Economic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Distress
  • Increased alcohol use

These are all risk factors of suicide, and all could be exacerbated due to the pandemic. And when firearms are thrown into the equation, it could mean disaster. That is why reducing access to firearms is so important: it could be the difference between life and death for members of your family and loved ones.

How to Reduce Firearm Suicide Risk

Simply owning a gun doesn’t make someone suicidal; however, guns are the most lethal method of suicide, so it’s important to take several steps to ensure your children are safe.

  • Take apart the firearm, if possible.
  • Store the firearm unloaded in a lock box or gun safe.
  • Store ammunition in a different location, away from the firearm.
  • Keep storage box keys or combinations away from children, especially if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
  • Remove the firearm from the house if needed. If someone in your household, whether it’s you, your spouse, or your child, is struggling, the safest place for your firearm to be is out of your house temporarily, until the crisis is over.
  • Check in with people who have access to firearms, especially family membrs or friends who your children frequently visit or those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. Ask if their firearms are stored safely.

This blog was written by Hope Squad. Hope Squad student members are trained to be aware of their peers and watch for warning signs. They learn to show empathy to their peers, listen without judgment, and reduce stigma regarding help-seeking and mental illness. Hope Squads are now in over 1,200 schools across 35 states and Canada. During the seventeen years since Timpview High School started a Hope Squad, the school has not lost a student to suicide. And as Hope Squad grows, we will continue to spread hope and save more lives. Learn more by visiting