September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Gun suicide claims the lives of nearly 24,000 people in America every year an average of 65 people per day, and the problem is getting worse. Over the past decade, the United States firearm suicide rate has increased 12 percent. This trend is of particular concern among young Americans, whose firearm suicide rate has increased 53 percent over the past 10 years, and for veterans, who have a firearm suicide rate one and a half times higher than nonveteran adults. But there is hope. These tragedies are preventable, and one of the most effective life-saving interventions for someone in crisis is disrupting their access to a gun.
The U.S. gun suicide rate is nearly 12 times higher than that of other high-income countries.
Everytown analysis of the most recent year of gun deaths by country (2015 to 2019), GunPolicy.org (accessed January 7, 2022).
More than 3,100 young people die by firearm suicide each year.￼
Everytown analysis of CDC, WONDER, Underlying Cause of Death, Five-year average: 2016–2020. Ages 10–24.
Men represent 86% of firearm suicide victims.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time for amplifying voices of survivors, spreading hope, and ensuring that individuals and families have access to resources to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call or text 988, or visit 988lifeline.org/chat to chat with a counselor from the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress anywhere in the US.
Understanding the issues around gun suicide is an important way to take part in prevention, help others in crisis, and change the conversation.
Defining the Problem
Gun Suicide in Cities
Four in 10 gun deaths in cities are people who die by gun suicide, accounting for over 7,000 deaths a year.
Firearm Suicide in the United States
Americans should be aware of the prevalence of firearm suicide, how having access to a gun increases the risk of suicide, and how to mitigate risk.
Suicide by Congressional District
Every year suicide claims more than 45,000 lives in the US, roughly the same number of American lives taken in combat during the Vietnam War.
The Rise of Firearm Suicide Among Young Americans
Over the past decade, the firearm suicide rate among young people has increased faster than in any other age group.
Those Who Serve: Addressing Firearm Suicide Among Military Veterans
An average of 4,400 veterans die by firearm suicide every year—about 12 deaths a day.
Invisible Wounds: Gun Violence and Community Trauma Among Black Americans
Persistent, unpredictable violence can result in trauma symptoms that disrupt young people’s mental health. In some cases, this takes the form of attempted suicide.
Preventing suicide requires strategies involving individuals, families, and communities.
Fact Sheet: Policy Solutions for Suicide
Given the unique lethality of firearms as a means of suicide, policies and practices that limit or disrupt access to firearms have been shown to save lives.
Each year in the U.S., nearly 350 children ages 17 and under gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else.
One Thing You Can Do
When a loved one is showing warning signs that they might try to harm themselves, you can seek a Red Flag order to temporarily suspend their access to firearms until the crisis passes.
Fact Sheet: A Continuum of Gun Access Interventions
Gun access interventions exist on a continuum: a chain of actions that can be taken depending on the severity of the crisis and other factors.
Amplify Survivor Voices
You can commit to elevating the voices of survivors from your own network or from Moments That Survive during September for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. You can also share your own story.
After giving birth, Abbi was diagnosed with postpartum depression and attempted suicide with a gun. Now, she’s is helping others through Moms Demand Action.
Van was a husband and father who was devastated when his marriage crumbled. He told loved ones he was going to end his life, then died by firearm suicide.
Cole was a college student who suffered from depression. Two weeks before his 21st birthday, he died by gun suicide using his roommate’s unsecured gun.
After losing my father to gun suicide, the Everytown Survivor Network helped me realize that I’m a survivor, too.
When I was 15, my mother pulled me out of class to tell me that my father had shot himself and was on life support. He died at the hospital two days later. His name was Jim Russell, and he was a 43-year-old husband, father of two, and doctor in… Continue
Support Our Partners
American Association of Suicidology
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
#bethe1 to—Help Someone That May Be Thinking of Suicide With These 5 Steps
Black Girls Smile
Black Mental Health Alliance: Suicide: Facts, Signs and Interventions
The JED Foundation
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Trevor Project Research Brief: LGBTQ Youth Suicide Prevention in Schools
U.S. Veterans Affairs Social Media Toolkit