Suicide is a national, public health issue that affects all Americans, including Veterans, their families and their friends. Earlier this year, VA brought together the work of PREVENTS and VA Suicide Prevention in the shared implementation of the VA National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide. This National Strategy is a public health approach combining community prevention and clinical intervention strategies to reach all Veterans.

Combining PREVENTS Roadmap recommendations that focus on national public health campaigns and lethal means safety, VA launched a Lethal Means Safety public health campaign in September 2021 during Suicide Prevention Month, with a specific focus on suicide prevention and safe firearm storage. This campaign has had tremendous success – public service announcements have been broadcast nationally reaching millions and several NASCAR racers placed KeepItSecure.net on their race cars in two major races in September!

Increasing time and space between the thought and the trigger saves lives

Firearms are the most common lethal means used by Veterans who die by suicide. In 2019, approximately 70% of Veteran suicide deaths were due to a self-inflicted firearm injury. Importantly, firearm sales continue to rise with significant sales increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Additionally, large surveys found that approximately 1/3 of Veterans store their firearms loaded and unlocked.

Increasing the time and space between someone in a suicidal crisis and a firearm (lethal means) can reduce the risk of suicide and save lives. While many Veterans own firearms and feel very comfortable with them, there is a disconnect between access to a gun in the home and increased risk of harm.

To learn more about how securing your firearms can prevent suicide, visit KeepItSecure.net.

VA is committed to saving Veteran lives

It’s important that Veterans know they’re not alone and that support is available. To learn more about lethal means safety, including how to talk to a Veteran or where to get a free gun lock, visit KeepItSecure.net.

If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with our caring, qualified responders for confidential help by calling the Veterans Crisis Line at (800) 273-8255 and select 1, or text 838255. You can also access additional resources at VeteransCrisisLine.net.

Suicide prevention coordinators (SPCs), specifically trained licensed mental health providers, are also available at all VA medical centers across the country. Find a local SPC here.

If you are a Veteran or a Caregiver, VA is committed to connecting you with the mental health and wellness services and support you need. VA has a variety of mental health resources, information, treatment options and more at mentalhealth.va.gov.

Veteran CandaceWhy I get my health care at VA: Candace
VA Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center graduatesStories of life interrupted… and restored through Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery

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4 Comments

  1. Moonpup October 22, 2021 at 8:17 am

    “Firearms are the most common lethal means used by Veterans who die by suicide. In 2019, approximately 70% of Veteran suicide deaths were due to a self-inflicted firearm injury. Importantly, firearm sales continue to rise with significant sales increase in 2020 compared to 2019.” Firearms are the most common means of suicide is the US period but I fail to see what the comment about firearm sales has to do with anything in this article. The major reason for an increase in firearm sales (and about half the buyers are now women) is two-fold, both related to Biden – (1) his constant threat to take away firearms from law-abiding citizens and his efforts to defund and remove police protection from the populace. Veterans are most likely to realize that they can no longer rely on governmental authorities to protect us and the vets are willing to assume that responsibility.

  2. Timothy J. Potter October 21, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Does it really matter what method veterans employ to end their life? The fact is that they decide to kill themselves. Or is this another ploy to keeps legitimately-owned firearms out of the hands of former Service personnel?

  3. red October 21, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    While I own a firearm, there has been times my son hid them. Same with a younger brother, a stepbrother, and so on in the family. This is a result of same-sex rape. that is the result of wild willies in the military demanding we become Spartans. Hitler would have loved them.

  4. RICHARD Parmett October 21, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Major public Health crisis must be analyzed and addressed.

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