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Suicide Prevention Models to Lessen Harms and Reduce Risks

Programs that address specific methods of suicide can be impactful in rural communities, considering that rates of suicide by firearms and drug overdoses are higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.

Therefore, another approach to preventing rural suicide is to attempt to reduce the risk of harm by specific methods such as firearms, pharmaceuticals, or illicit substances. This might be done through changes in federal, state, or local policy regarding how those means are regulated and distributed.

In addition to changes in policy, communities can take their own measures to reduce harm. Programs can include training for mental health practitioners and the general public, safe medication disposal at pharmacies, and community-wide efforts to reduce illicit drug use. For both firearms and substances, caution should be used to safely store and lock them and to reduce access to individuals experiencing suicidal ideation. Also with regard to firearms, there are programs to help gun retailers identify someone who is suicidal and offer them resources.

Program Clearinghouse Examples

Resources to Learn More

Reduce Access to Means of Suicide
Presents information about limiting access to lethal means of suicide, including firearms and medications, as a part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Identifies actionable steps that people and organizations can take to reduce or prevent access to lethal means.
Organization(s): Suicide Prevention Resource Center