ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Today, the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) announces the launch of End Family Fire Missouri, a two-year campaign in partnership with the Ad Council and Brady designed to raise awareness of the risks of firearms not safe at home in relation to 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. In fact, more than six in 10 suicides in Missouri involve a firearm. This campaign will reach Missourians through a variety of mediums, beginning with a coordinated digital push including videos and public service banner ads.
“With firearms playing such an outsized role in suicides statewide, we want to start a conversation about how we can encourage safer storage and care for each other in times of crisis,” said explained Jessi LaRose, senior strategist-Initiatives at MFH. “The legacy of a single suicide tears apart a community, leaving untold damage in its wake. We all have a role to play in preventing suicides, and mainstreaming gun safety makes perfect sense. in this effort.
“Missouri’s suicide rates are consistently higher than the national average. In fact, in 2020, Missouri’s firearm suicide rate was 1.5 times the national rate,” said End Family Fire Brady Director Colleen Creighton. “It’s a crisis, but one that’s eminently solvable. We’re proud to work with the Missouri Foundation for Health to help raise awareness of the dangers of unsafe firearms in the home to help save lives.
The End Family Fire campaign, launched in 2018, is entirely dedicated to reducing gun deaths and injuries in the home by improving safe storage practices among gun owners. The work is strictly non-partisan in nature and brings gun owners into the conversation to be part of the solution.
End Family Fire was developed using broad and in-depth research, including qualitative and quantitative methodologies at every stage. Expert advisory groups were organized for each work package. The campaign has been endorsed by mental health and gun violence prevention experts and tested through market research to ensure it resonates with gun owners. The results of the campaign’s follow-up study unequivocally attest to the success and impact of this effort. Gun owners who are exposed to campaign messages change their attitudes and behaviors regarding the safe storage of guns.
As part of MFH’s broader gun suicide prevention initiative, this communication effort is especially important if we are to educate the general public about the direct and deadly link between guns and suicide. In addition, for several years, MFH has been engaged in research into how gun owners themselves think about safety, as well as how to communicate and engage most effectively. On the question. In 2021, MFH launched the Missouri Firearm Suicide Prevention Learning Cohort. Over a 24-month period, seven planning grant recipients from across the region are working to develop promising firearm suicide prevention approaches that will focus on reducing rates of firearm suicide among specific populations. more at risk.
Visit End Family Fire Missouri to learn more about suicide prevention, safe gun storage, and to view campaign videos. Additional content will be added as the effort progresses.
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.