NEWTOWN, Conn., May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation has joined with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a webcast about "Protecting Mental Health and Preventing Suicide During COVID-19" that will premiereThursday, May 14, at 8 p.m. Eastern time on the U.S. Concealed Carry Association's YouTube Channel.
The webcast was produced by USCCA, one of the largest firearm-owner groups in the country. NSSF greatly appreciates USCCA's support for the project and for helping to deliver the webcast's important messages about mental health and suicide prevention to the firearm-owning community. The webcast can viewed here. For smart TV users, within the YouTube app search for "USCCA" to locate the webcast premiere.
"These are stressful times for everyone, and our purpose with this webcast is to provide information that empowers people to protect their mental health and to better understand suicide, prevention and how lives can be saved," said NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi, who served as host of the program. "We greatly appreciate NSSF's valued partners — the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs—for sharing this information, and we encourage people to share this webcast far and wide."
Bartozzi is joined on the 44-minute webcast by Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation's largest suicide prevention organization, and Dr. Matthew Miller, Director of Suicide Prevention for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The experts deliver many supportive, positive messages, including that coping during difficult times can be accomplished and that suicide can be prevented. They stressed that knowing how to help friends and family members who might be going through a difficult period can save lives.
A core message of the webcast is that securely storing firearms and other methods of harming oneself can play a huge role in deterring suicide. Creating time and space between a person with suicidal thoughts and access to a means of self-harm, such as a firearm, can create a moment of pause, allowing the period of heightened risk to pass. Suicide is not inevitable, said the experts, and reaching out to someone to have a "brave conversation" can be lifesaving.
Recognizing that 50 percent of all suicides are by firearm and that among veterans the figure is 70 percent, NSSF has in recent years helped develop a program with AFSP and a program with VA to educate industry, gun owners including veterans, and their families about caring for their mental health and preventing suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK, or text TALK to 741741.