Let’s Talk Suicide

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the organizations listed nor do I intend to give my opinion on gun control. 

I got inspired to share this with you after attending the North Dakota American Academy of Pediatrics Spring Conference. A majority of the discussion was about suicide and firearm injuries in today’s youth.

It is quite a ‘heavy’ topic; however, I don’t think we can ever talk about it too much. So that’s why I’m going to highlight a few things I learned and give a few quick tips on how we can help the kiddos!

Suicide Facts

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for children.
  • 70% of people who survived a suicide attempt reported deciding to take their life within 10 minutes of the act.
  • 1 US child takes their life every 18 hours.
  • Firearm-related deaths are the 3rd leading cause of death among US children 1-17 years.
  • 1.8 per 100,000 children from years 2012-2014 died from firearm injury
    • 53% from homicide
    • 38% from suicide
    • 6% unintentional
    • 4% unknown or legal intervention
  • Firearms are the most deadly means of suicide in North Dakota.
  • Children have access to predatory apps, sites and games!

Warning Signs

    • Ideation – expressed ideation 
    • Substance Abuse – increased use
    • Purposelessness 
    • Anxiety 
    • Trapped 
    • Hopelessness
    • Withdrawal 
    • Anger
    • Recklessness – high risk behaviors
    • Mood Change


  • BeSMART Campaign
    • Secure all guns in homes and vehicles
    • Model responsible behavior
    • Ask about unsecured guns in other homes
    • Recognize the roles of guns in suicide
    • Tell your peers about Be SMART
  • Bark
    • An application that allows you to connect and monitor your children’s accounts/devices for “signs of cyber-bullying, depression, online predators, adult content, and more”!
  • Talk Saves Lives
    • “A community-based presentation that covers the general scope of suicide, the research on prevention, and what people can do to fight suicide” 
    • Find the chapter nearest you and have them come talk at your event!
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    • To help you take action and learn more about suicide
  • Sources of Strength
    • “One of the first suicide prevention programs that uses Peer Leaders to enhance protective factors associated with reducing suicide at the school population level”
  • FirstLink
    • ND local
    • Provides training for suicide prevention and intervention
    • Provides hotline

5 Steps to Help Someone

  1. Ask

  2. Keep them safe

  3. Be there

  4. Help them call 1-800-272-TALK(8255) or text HOME to 741-741

  5. Follow up

To learn about your state click here.

Fowler KA, Dahlberg LL, Haileyesus T, Gutierrez C, Bacon S. Childhood firearm injuries in the United States. Pediatrics. 2017:140.

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