U.S. Teens Have Easy Access to Firearm Regardless of Suicide Risk

by Bidita Debnath on January 3, 2015 at 7:34 PM
Font : A-A+

 U.S. Teens Have Easy Access to Firearm Regardless of Suicide Risk

U.S. teens report easy access to firearms, even when they have mental health problems that put them at an increased risk of suicide, reveals a new study.

Overall, 41 percent of teens who reported being in a home with a firearm had easy access to it. Among teens with a history of mental illness or suicidal acts, researchers found that percentage was the same.


The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise healthcare providers to talk about firearm safe storage with parents - especially those with at-risk youths at home.

"Our goal of this study was to find out if those recommendations were being implemented effectively in the community," said Dr. Joseph Simonetti, the study's lead author from the University of Washington School of Medicine's Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Simonetti and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry that suicide is the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Having a firearm in the home is one risk factor for suicide, they add.

Previous studies have found a lower suicide risk among residents of homes that practice safe storage of firearms.

For the new study, the authors used data collected between 2001 and 2004 from 10,123 U.S. teens between ages 13 and 18 years.

A third of the teens reported living in a home with a firearm. Of those, about 41 percent said they had easy access to that firearm and the ability to shoot it.

Older, male and non-Hispanic teens were more likely to report being able to access firearms. Those living in rural or wealthy households were also more likely to report access.

Among the teens with histories of mental illness or suicidal actions, such as thoughts or attempts, the researchers found they were just as likely as those without such histories to report firearm access.

"There is a disconnect between these generally agreed upon storage methods and what's happening in the community," Simonetti said.

He cautioned that the data included in this study is old. "One of the limitations of this study is we're using data that was collected from 2001 to 2004," Simonetti said, adding that he and his colleagues can't say how practices may have changed since then.

"We need better studies on how to promote safe firearms storage especially in households with children and children with mental illness," he said.

Simonetti said some effective safe storage methods include using gun locks and gun cabinets and hiding the keys from children.

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
World Alzheimer's Day 2021 - 'Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer's
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
Stroop Effect
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Adolescence Depression Suicide Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Bereavement Quiz on Depression 

Recommended Reading
Suicide is an act of ending one's own life and it usually results from emotional isolations and ......
Study Finds Link Between Suicide Risk With Insomnia and Alcohol Use
Recently, a new study has provided a link between suicide risk with insomnia and alcohol use....
Double The Risk of Suicide for Cocaine and Amphetamines Users
The risk of suicidal behavior among those who inject drugs is two-fold greater in people who use ......
Suicide Risk Greater in Transgender Veterans
Serious suicidal thoughts and plans to attempt suicide are more likely in veterans of the U.S. ......
Bereavement refers to grief, pain and sadness following the loss of a loved one, especially during t...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use