Military service members who haven’t told anyone about their suicidal thoughts or talked with a behavioral health professional are most likely to store their firearms unsafely, according to a Rutgers study. The study, which was funded by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, appears in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.
“These findings highlight a real problem with our suicide prevention system,” said Michael Anestis, lead author of the study, executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers and an associate professor at Rutgers School of Public Health. “We know that firearms account for the large majority of suicide deaths within the military and that unsecured firearms at home dramatically increase the risk for suicide. Here, we found that suicidal service members less likely to be seen as high risk – those that hide their thoughts from others and avoid behavioral health care – tend to be the service members with the most ready access to their firearms.” To read the full story.