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

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

Suicide involves a complex set of behaviors and emotions that lead up to actions thatmay be based on planning and forethought or the result of impulse. While there are ahost of antecedent circumstances the presence of a mood disorder, primarily depres-sion, is the most common factor in suicide. While management of depression is rec-ognized as important prevention strategy in depression, the means by which suicideoccurs must be a critical element of prevention. Policies that lower access to themeans for suicide will decrease the fatality. Guns are associated with half of suicidesand the case fatality rate of gun associated suicide is over 90% compared to 7% forall other means. This emphasizes the importance of offering strategies that limitaccess 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 greaterrisk for suicide to place themselves on an official list that would prevent them frompurchasing lethal weapons. A person with depression, when well, might wish to enrollvoluntarily to prevent themselves, when ill, from procuring a weapon to harm them-selves or others. This recognizes the autonomy of the person and protects both theindividual, the family, and society.

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