Information on how to responsibly cover gun suicide is available here.
Today, the Judd family revealed that Naomi Judd, an actress and musician, died by gun suicide on April 30. The news comes as the family is opening up about their experience. Although it is not clear if Judd was a gun owner, the news comes as research from JAMA shows that women living with handgun owners more likely to die by suicide. Six out of every 10 gun deaths are suicides in the U.S. are suicides, resulting in an average of 65 deaths a day. Guns are the most lethal method of suicide, and disrupting access to guns in times of crisis can save lives.
The deep economic downturn caused by COVID-19, combined with the millions of guns already in homes and the millions more being purchased during each month of the pandemic, is a volatile mix that could exacerbate the risk of firearm suicide. Researchers continue to be worried about the surge of gun sales, the number of unsecured firearms at home, and the ongoing stress and anxiety of our communities— especially among young people and veterans whose rates of gun suicide have risen over the past decade.
A recent survey from the Center for Disease Control showed more than 4 in 10 teens reported they feel “persistently sad or hopeless,” and 1 in 5 saying “they have contemplated suicide.” The survey builds on calls from experts ringing the alarm about mental health for young people. In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health, saying that its members were “caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, and their communities.”
For years, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks have been working with gun suicide survivors and advocating for proven solutions to prevent gun suicide including extreme risk laws, laws and programs that promote secure firearm storage such as Be SMART, public awareness about the risk posed by guns in the home and how to mitigate those risks, and resources to prevent this tragedy in all communities.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You may also contact the Crisis Text Line, which provides trained crisis counseling services over text 24/7. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the US crisistextline.org.
More information about gun suicide is available here. To speak with an expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.