Protecting others and yourself
Protecting those close to you
Research shows that asking someone directly if they’re thinking about suicide won’t put the idea in their head or push them to act on it. In most cases, they'll feel relieved that someone cares enough to bring it up. So it’s important to learn how to have a #RealConvo about mental health, and how to respond if someone tells you they’re having thoughts of suicide.
If you’re worried someone is in distress, encourage them to store their guns safely and securely, locked, and unloaded. During a crisis, work collaboratively with them, their loved ones, and other trusted resources (e.g., their doctor) to help them remove firearms from their home until the period of distress resolves. Finally, help them get the support they need.
Despite what you may assume, suicidal individuals who don't have immediate access to a lethal suicide method, such as a gun, in most cases don't simply find another way to take their life. By separating a suicidal person from their firearm, even temporarily, you increase their chances for survival.
Keeping yourself safe
Just as you would take steps to protect your loved ones and friends, you should also do the same for yourself. Pay attention to how you're feeling. If you're going through a tough time or starting to show signs of stress or strain, ask a family member or friend for help. Ask them to connect you with support, and to help store your guns safely until you feel more like yourself again. Here are some tips on how to have the conversation.