As September came to an end, we would like to reflect on the importance of suicide prevention. It has been 13 years since it was first declared as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in 2008. Since then, it has been a time to acknowledge those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services.
According to the CDC, in 2020, 45,979 persons died by suicide in the United States. That is one suicide death every 11 minutes. This is particularly devastating when we consider the fact that firearms are the most common method used in suicides. When firearms are involved, suicide attempts become nearly nearly always lethal.
While firearms increase the risk that an individual will die by suicide, there is also a link between these two and alcohol consumption. Studies show that 35% of suicide decedents had acutely consumed any alcohol prior to their death.
The Consortium is currently exploring the intersection between alcohol, firearms and suicide as we prepare our next report “Alcohol as a risk factor for gun violence”. This report will highlight and synthesize existing research evidence and develop a set of policy recommendations. This report will be publicly released in the following months.