Nearly A Fifth of Young People At-Risk For Suicide Live in Homes with Guns

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gunAn estimated one-fifth of suicidal youth in the United States live in homes with firearms, according to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) yearly meeting on Monday in Washington, D.C.

The study included more than 500 subjects between the ages of 10 and 21, who were asked to complete a short questionnaire that is commonly used as a suicide risk-screening tool for pediatric emergency department (ED) patients.

Of the 151 patients submitting complete questionnaires, nearly a third of subjects were deemed to be potentially suicidal, with about 17 percent of respondents stating that they lived in homes with guns present. Within the subpopulation that was both at-risk for suicide and living in homes with firearms, 31 percent of respondents stated they knew how to obtain either ammunition or the firearms, with 15 percent of respondents stating they knew how to access both bullets and the guns.

Dr. Jeffrey Bridge, report co-author, said the results of the study indicate that parents need to know the risks of having firearms in homes with young people.

“Being at risk for suicide and having access to firearms is a volatile mix,” he is quoted by The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP.) “These conversations need to take place in the ED with families of children at risk for suicide.” 

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists suicide as the third leading cause of death for Americans, ages 10 to 24. According to the CDC, approximately half of all youth suicides in the United States involve firearms.

Photo courtesy of esc.ape(d) / Flickr