BEND, Ore. – Gun owners are much more receptive to suicide-prevention messages tailored to respect their rights as firearms enthusiasts than they are to messages that use language that aims to be culturally neutral, a study published last week suggests.
The research at Oregon State University-Cascades is significant because more than half of the roughly 40,000 people in the United States who take their own lives every year do so with a gun.
Past research shows that the vast majority of people with “suicidal ideation” – thoughts of killing themselves – will live meaningful, productive lives if they get past the rough patch that caused them to think about suicide.
But only 5 percent of people who attempt suicide via firearm survive; hence the need for messaging that’s effective in helping friends and family members hold onto guns while their loved ones are experiencing suicidal ideation.
The researchers conducted interviews in 2015 with 39 adult gun owners from rural communities in central Oregon. The goal was to understand the culture of gun ownership and learn about acceptable, non-threatening methods of improving firearm safety that respect the rights of gun owners while also helping suicidal patients stay safe.
Among gun owners, culturally tailored suicide prevention messages work best | News and Research Communications | Oregon State University