NEW YORK, Aug. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to recently released data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all suicides were by firearm in 2014, and suicide accounted for almost two-thirds of gun fatalities in the same year. In addition, 90 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal. To help stem this loss of life, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation's largest suicide prevention organization, is working with representatives from local gun shops, shooting ranges and hunting clubs to educate retailers and the firearm-owning community on suicide prevention and firearms.
The pilot program, involving community-based AFSP chapters in four states, is the first time a national suicide organization has collaborated with gun retailers, range owners and the firearm-owning community about suicide prevention and firearms. Many of the strategies of the pilot program will utilize co-developed resources through a new partnership between AFSP and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry.
"One of the first areas identified through Project 2025, our initiative aimed at reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025, was a critical need to reduce the number of suicides using a firearm. But, we know we can't do it alone," said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. "We will work alongside firearm retailers and range owners and the firearm-owning community to better inform and educate them on warning signs, and what to do if someone may be at risk for suicide."
The four states included in the AFSP pilot program include Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and New Mexico. The states were selected based on a variety of factors including the volunteer capacity of the AFSP chapters, and the suicide rates by firearm in those states. Over the next two years, AFSP will expand the pilot programs to include AFSP's nationwide network of chapters.
More about Project 2025
Launched in October 2015, Project 2025 is a high-impact, collaborative initiative developed by AFSP, aimed at the organization's bold goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Using a dynamic systems model designed by CALIBRE Systems, AFSP has determined a series of actions and critical areas reaching across all demographic and sociological groups to have the greatest impact for suicide prevention and the potential to save thousands of lives within the next 10 years.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that's smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention