SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/Edited Press Release) – The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) has launched the End Family Fire Missouri Campaign, a two-year campaign to raise awareness of the risks of unsecured firearms in the home regarding the suicide by firearm.
Although many people immediately think of homicides or mass shootings when the topic of gun violence comes up, the leading cause of gun death in Missouri and nationwide is suicide.
Senior Strategist Jessi LaRose says it’s to raise awareness of the risk of unsecured firearms in the home.
“By storing guns in our homes safely and securely, we can really limit or reduce the risk of a fatal suicide attempt,” LaRose said.
Missouri’s firearm suicide rate jumped nearly 50% between 2000 and 2020.
LaRose says gun suicides are responsible for nearly 60% of all gun deaths in the state.
If there’s a gun in the house, she says locking it in a safe can have a significant impact on it.
“Putting time and distance between the gun and someone who might be in crisis can really make all the difference and could prevent that attempt or death,” LaRose said.
More than six in ten suicides in Missouri involve a firearm.
Amanda Gravestein’s sister was one of them, and she says it’s been almost six months since then, and her family lives with the pain every day.
“It’s like having broken ribs,” says Gravestein. “No one can see them, but with every breath it’s so painful. That’s how my family feels.
Gravestein says his nephew is in pain.
“He tried to perform CPR on her,” Gravestein says. “Listening to him recall the details of that, it was quite difficult.”
For Gravenstein, she believes her sister would have died by suicide whether or not she had access to a gun.
Instead, Gravenstein says she is focused on the changes that need to be made within the state to address the global mental health crisis.
“There’s such a high rate of suicide and mental health issues, mental illness,” Gravenstein says. “It’s more worrying for me and the lack of help. People just don’t know where to go. »
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME at 741741.
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