- MIRECC/CoE Home
- MIRECC/CoE General Information
- VISN 1
- Center for Integrated Healthcare (CIH)
- Coaching into Care
- CoE for Suicide Prevention
- Mental Health and Chaplaincy
- VISN 3
- VISN 4
- VISN 5
- VISN 6
- VISN 16
- Research on Returning War Veterans
- Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program
- Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention
- NW MIRECC
- VISN 21
- VISN 22
- More Health Care
- Veterans Health Administration
- Health Benefits
- Health Benefits Home
- Apply for VA Care
- Determine Costs
- Non-VA Care
- Affordable Care Act
- Schedule a VA Appointment
- Conditions & Treatments
- Wellness Programs
- Special Groups
- Careers, Job Help & Training
- Find a Job with VA
- Get Job Help
- Clinical Trainees (Academic Affiliations)
- Employees & Contractors
- VA Software Documentation Library (VDL)
- About VHA
Lethal Means Safety & Suicide Prevention
Lethal means are objects (e.g., medications, firearms, sharp objects) that can be used to engage in Suicidal Self-Directed Violence (S-SDV)*, including suicide attempts. Facilitating lethal means safety is an essential component of effective suicide prevention.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is leading the way to both prevent fatal (death by suicide) and non-fatal (e.g., suicide attempts) suicidal behaviors among Veterans, and training healthcare professionals to promote lethal means safety among those at risk for suicide.
* - A shared understanding of terms associated with Self-Directed Violence (SDV) in its various forms is critical. For more information regarding the VHA Self-Directed Violence Classification System and Clinical Tooklit visit this page.
Collaborative decision making regarding lethal means safety can save a Veteran’s life.
Strategies to promote lethal means safety should be discussed with all Veterans with High or Intermediate Acute or Chronic suicide risk. For more information regarding risk stratification see the Therapeutic Risk Management Risk Stratification Table.
By providing lethal means safety counseling, tangible materials to facilitate lethal means safety (e.g., firearm locking devices, medication disposal kits), and ongoing follow up, health care professionals can prevent suicide.