There is one question Dr. Carol Runyan considers vitally important to ask the parents of suicidal teens: Is there a gun in the house?
Dr. Runyan, the director of Program for Injury Prevention, Education, and Research at the Colorado School of Public Health, knows the presence of a firearm in a home increases the odds that someone who lives there will take his or her own life. Guns are reliably lethal — research indicates that suicide attempts involving a firearm result in death 85 percent of the time, compared to less than three percent when the means is a drug overdose.
Dr. Runyan’s advice to clinicians counseling a parent who owns firearms and has a suicidal child is to tell them to get the weapons out of the home as quickly as possible.
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