The Omaha Police Department is helping in the suicide prevention effort by assisting citizens in securing firearms in local homes. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which handles that registration, reported there were more than 3.1 million National Firearms Act-registered weapons in the U.S. as of March 2012. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, firearms account for nearly half of all suicides in our country.
Sociologists and suicide prevention experts understand the connection between accessibility to means and increased suicide risk. For example, if you have a handgun or prescription pills in your home, your risk and the risk of the people living in your home to potentially use these items as means to suicide substantially increases simply because there is easy access. This does not mean that if you have a gun in your home you or a loved one will make an attempt, it simply means that because these deadly means are available you are at an increased risk.
If you or a loved one is one of the one in five Americans living with a mental health disorder, it is especially important to lock and hide your handguns. To get a free gun lock, you can contact the Omaha Police Department, or simply go to the front desk at Central Police Station located at 505 South 15th Street in Omaha, NE, and ask for a free lock.
Always remember to keep the gun lock locked and hidden from teens or anyone who may be having thoughts of hopelessness and/or suicide. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, you can also contact the Omaha Police department and request them to remove the guns from your home. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 if you have questions or concerns about yourself or a loved one. To contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call (800)273-TALK (8255).
For more information on how you can help prevent suicide, go to: http://www.13minutes.org.
Jill Hamilton, Project Coordinator, The Kim Foundation
Jill Hamilton has been the Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation since 2014. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from The University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. Since working at the foundation, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, Nebraska LOSS Advisory Committee, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, The Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, Nebraska State Conference Planning Committee, is Chair of the Nebraska LOSS Teams Conference Planning Committee, and serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Metro Area LOSS Team.