"Suicide Prevention and Mood Disorders: Self-Exclusion Agreements for Firearms as a Suicide Prevention Strategy"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
2021
Publication
Asia-Pacific Psychiatry
Publication Type
Journal Article
Abstract

Suicide involves a complex set of behaviors and emotions that lead up to actions that may be based on planning and forethought or the result of impulse. While there are a host of antecedent circumstances the presence of a mood disorder, primarily depression, is the most common factor in suicide. While management of depression is recognized as important prevention strategy in depression, the means by which suicide occurs must be a critical element of prevention. Policies that lower access to the means for suicide will decrease the fatality. Guns are associated with half of suicides and the case fatality rate of gun associated suicide is over 90% compared to 7% for all other means. This emphasizes the importance of offering strategies that limit access to guns to those at higher risk for suicide. A declaration of formal self-exclusion for access to firearms (guns and ammunition) offers the individual at greater risk for suicide to place themselves on an official list that would prevent them from purchasing lethal weapons. A person with depression, when well, might wish to enroll voluntarily to prevent themselves, when ill, from procuring a weapon to harm themselves or others. This recognizes the autonomy of the person and protects both the individual, the family, and society.

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