Research has clearly demonstrated that, irrespective of other risk factors, the presence of a firearm in the home greatly increases the risk of suicide. There is also solid empirical support for deploying means restriction as one of the most effective approaches to prevention of suicide among those who are actively suicidal or in a mental health crisis. Furthermore, we know from research and clinical experience that physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other providers are very often uncomfortable and ill-equipped to have effective firearm safety and means restriction discussions with at-risk patients. This presentation is aimed at briefly reviewing the research, and then proposing multiple methods for healthcare providers to effectively screen for, discuss, and competently and ethically handle any information related to individuals’ with both suicidal ideation or intent and access to firearms. Interactive activities and role-play will assist providers in practicing the language and interventions to increase confidence and allow attendees to leave with an actionable skill. We will discuss the initial implementation response and data of these recommendations in a multi-center health care network.
Due to the pandemic, the clinic we intended to utilize for gathering pilot data went all virtual, causing significant delays in data gathering. We still have a great deal of information and expertise regarding and discussing this topic, and the l/o’s won’t change. We are hoping to start data collection as restrictions are lifted over the next few months or we may need some way to utilize an online format.
- Describe the importance and effectiveness of means restriction, particularly related to firearms, in preventing suicide.
- Identify barriers to psychologists and other integrated care team members engaging in effective firearms means restrictions.
- Demonstrate increased comfort and proficiency in discussing firearms means restriction with patients who are at high risk of suicide