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Reducing Access to Means
October 23rd is national Lock Your Meds day and it stands as a great reminder to keep your home safe. Means reduction is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Many suicide attempts take place during a short-term crisis. Putting time and space between the means and individuals during a crisis can prevent suicide and save lives. The choice of suicide method generally depends on one simple factor: availability. A number of studies have indicated that when lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline, and frequently suicide rates overall decline.
If someone in your home is experiencing a mental health problem or life crisis, these simple steps can help protect your family and possibly save your loved ones life.
· Lock medication
o Store all medications in a lock box or locked medicine cabinet.
o To dispose of unused medications, locate a medicine take back program in your community or if you have no other choice follow the FDA guidance: Mix the medicines with something that cannot be eaten such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds in a sealable plastic bag and throw mixture away in the trash.
· Firearm safety
o Store the firearm (locked and unloaded) using a cable lock, lock box, gun case, or gun safe.
o Store the ammunition locked up in a separate location from the gun.
o During a crisis, remove firearms from the home until the period of distress resolves.
Remember, those who don’t have immediate access to a means of killing themselves likely won’t simply find another way. Most live through it and regain their usual ways of coping. In most cases, removing access to firearms and all other lethal means and providing support helps get people past the intense, temporary moment of suicidal crisis…and can save a life.
Kailey Kocourek, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation, https://www.thekimfoundation.org/
Kailey Kocourek joined The Kim Foundation in July 2018 as the Project Coordinator. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from UNO in Public Health and is currently working towards her Master’s in Public Health from UNMC, expecting to graduate in May 2019. She was drawn to the non-profit world because of her passion for helping and educating others. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and spending time with her husband, Ethan, and two children, Kaiden and Emry.