Guns and Suicide: Are They Related?

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Shooting oneself with a firearm is the leading method of suicide, accounting for over half of all such deaths. About two-thirds of the annual 33,000 gun-related fatalities in the United States are suicide—nearly 60 every day. Although most suicidal impulses are intense, they usually last for a short time, which makes prompt intervention imperative. Approximately 90% of those who attempt suicide and survive do not later die by suicide. However, attempts with a gun are usually fatal. A clear connection between firearms in the home and an increased risk of suicide exists. People who have access to these weapons are more likely to commit suicide than those who live in a home without a gun; thus, limiting access to guns decreases the opportunity for self-harm. Physicians should recommend that firearm access be removed from individuals with depression, suicidal ideations, drug abuse, impulsivity, or a mental or neurologic illness.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2017;19(6):17br02116