Many Western states seek ways to reduce the high rates of suicide ;
Throughout the interior West, states in a belt from Montana to New Mexico are looking for ways to reduce suicide rates highest-in-the-nation, despite initiatives specific weapon are a sensitive issue.
In Montana, with the highest rate suicide prevention coordinator Karl Rosston acknowledges some frustration as you increase the number of victims, including the recent deaths of several teenagers who used firearms in their own homes.
“People are afraid we are trying to carry firearms, which is not the case,” Rosston said. “I understand the sensitivity of it, but I have to ask questions when we have kids who shoot themselves.”
One of the most affected areas of Montana is the city of Butte and County of Silver Bow area, where, according to local health director Karen Sullivan, the rate of gun ownership is well above the national average. Shaken by the recent suicides with firearms six youths, including a good friend of his daughter, Sullivan and others formed a committee suicide prevention and insurance began distributing weapons.
“The six had easy access to a gun, and we do not agree with that,” Sullivan said. “This issue has become very personal to me.”
In Colorado and Nevada, suicide prevention offices of states have tried to reach the gun stores and shooting ranges, which offers suicide prevention materials and training. One of extension agents in Nevada, Richard Egan, regularly visit gun shows, sometimes giving away certain high-quality weapons to people interested in your message.
Egan, who developed expertise in weaponry during a long career in the Air Force, said he was encouraged by the recent news that prosecutors pursue a charge of felony child abuse in the case of a child of 8 years old boy from Las Vegas who committed suicide last year. The child had been left at home without adult supervision, and a gun left unsecured by the boyfriend of the child’s mother is used.
“That’s huge,” Egan said of the charge filed against the boyfriend. “We are now going to be held accountable to the gun owner.”
In Arizona, the overall suicide rate is not as high as that of its neighbors in the Rocky Mountains, but three of his county-Yavapai, Mohave and Cochise-have the highest rates of suicide by firearm in the country, according to federal data.
suicide prevention officer Arizona, Kelli Donley, has been working carefully to see if there are ways to reduce gun suicides.
“Politically we need to be very careful,” he said. “People love their guns in Arizona, we can not tell people who do not have weapons.”
Last summer, Donley said, he went to Mohave County for a meeting suicide prevention, and got the logistical support of a fire battalion chief in Kingman.
“A week later took his own life-that was totally counterproductive,” Donley said, recalling how she sobbed during the phone call relayed the news. “I gave that man all the resources he had, and he did not recognize what was going on.”
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