Lethal Means Safety & Suicide Prevention in Action
Firearm Lethal Means Safety among Soldiers
- Most 18-21 year-olds in Israel serve in the Israel Defense Force (IDF)
- Early 2000s: 90% of IDF suicides were by firearm and most occurred on weekend leave
- 2006: IDF implemented a policy requiring soldiers to leave their weapons on base during weekend leave
- Suicide rate decreased by 40%
- Weekend suicides dropped significantly
- Weekday suicides did not
Reference: Lubin et al. 2010. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 40(5), 421-424
Lethal Means Safety in Inpatient Units
Inpatient psychiatric and medical settings are high-risk settings for suicidal behavior. Prior work by the VHA identified characteristics of such settings amenable to modification (e.g., availability of sharp objects) to reduce suicide risk among hospitalized patients leading to the development of the Mental Health Environment of Care Checklist (MHEOCC).
Implementation of the MHEOCC across VA inpatient facilities led to a sustained decline in inpatient suicides among Veterans (2.72 suicides per million bed-days of care pre-MHEOCC; 0.69 per million bed-days post_MHEOCC).