- Clinicians are well-positioned to play a critical role in preventing suicide. Studies show that nearly half of people who die by suicide visited their primary doctor in the month before their death.*
- One of the most important actions a clinician can take with a patient experiencing suicidality is to counsel them to limit access to lethal means, including firearms.
- Patients who receive a healthcare professional’s counseling and recommendation were three times as likely to more securely store their guns or remove them from their home.**
- Minnesota can help prevent firearm suicides by working with state professional societies that license behavioral health clinicians to require continuing training in assessing and treating suicidality.
- Training in suicide prevention and lethal means counseling could be given to primary care providers, school health personnel, social workers, and any other care providers who may encounter people in distress.
*Luoma JB, Martin CE, Pearson JL. Contact with mental health and primary care providers before suicide: a review of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;159(6):909-16. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.6.909
**Albright, T. L., & Burge, S. K. (2003). Improving Firearm Storage Habits: Impact of Brief Office Counseling by Family Physicians. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 16(1), 40–46. https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.16.1.40