Safe storage of firearms has been identified as one of the most important targets to reduce suicide in the 21st century. Healthcare providers are in a position to help patients identify periods of elevated risk for suicide, and problem-solve how to safely store firearms to help those individuals reduce their risk. These conversations are especially important for our military veterans, who own firearms, die by suicide, and use firearms in suicide attempts at higher rates than the general U.S. population.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the San Francisco VA Health Care System have teamed up to bring experts on suicide prevention and veterans issues together to inform clinicians, policymakers and other stakeholders in the veteran community about cutting-edge research and community involvement in promoting lethal means safety and safe firearm storage.
Many innovations pertaining to lethal means safety with veterans have occurred in just the last few years. Counseling at-risk veterans to safely store their firearms is cited in the VA’s 2018 National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, is a required component of the nationally utilized VA Suicide Prevention Safety Plan, and is an emphasis of the VA Rocky Mountain MIRECC’s research, consultation and education efforts. Development of innovative safe gun storage products was the focus of last year’s VHA Office of MHSP Public & Private Partnerships Community Gun Challenge Grant. AFSP has named firearm safety as one of the four pillars of Project 2025, a nationwide initiative to reduce the annual rate of suicide in the U.S. 20% by 2025. The VA has partnered with AFSP and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to develop education and prevention materials and foster best practices for local safe firearm storage.
In tandem with these national and local efforts, this conference seeks to educate clinicians to improve the day-to-day clinical management of veterans in crisis. Relatively few VA or Community Care Network mental health care or primary care providers have received training in how to effectively counsel veterans about lethal means safety—especially about the safe storage of firearms.
With this conference, we seek to update and expand upon the educational presentations of our March 2016 Lethal Means Safety conference, and to forge further common cause across the broad spectrum of veteran, firearm, public health, researcher and VA stakeholders.
The conference is designed for health and mental health clinicians, policy makers and anyone interested in veterans and/or suicide prevention.
(We have applied to offer CE credit for professionals)
Doreen Marshall, PhD
Vice President of Programs, AFSP
Matthew A. Miller, PhD, MPH
Acting Director, Suicide Prevention Program, VHA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Matthew J. Miller, MD, MPH, ScD
Professor of Health Sciences and Epidemiology, Northeastern University, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
M. Emmy Betz, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine,Research Physician, Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) | Veterans Health Administration
Joseph Simonetti, MD, MPH
Clinical Investigator, Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center for Suicide Prevention, VHA; Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Carolyn Colley, Family Perspective
Air Force Veteran and sibling; Producer of short film With or Without Me
Joy J. Ilem, VSO Perspective
National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Jay Zimmerman, BA, CPSC, CRE, CPRP, Veteran Perspective
Certified Peer Support Counselor/Certified Recovery Educator, Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner, James H. Quillen VAMC
Joseph Bartozzi, Public-Private Partnerships and Community Efforts
President, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)
Ralph Demicco, Community Outreach
Co-chair of the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition, co-founder of the Gun Shop Project, and former owner of Riley’s Gun Shop
Aimee C. Johnson, LCSW, Public-Private Partnerships and Product Innovation
Program Analyst, Partnerships, VHA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Sponsor the 2019 Conference:
Become a sponsor of the conference and receive recognition in our printed materials and at the event. Your contributions and support help further our missions, educate those serving veteran communities, and connect those in need with resources and help. 2020 Lethal Means Conference Sponsorship Package
Safe storage of firearms has been identified as one of the most important targets to reduce suicide in the 21st century. Healthcare providers are in a position to help patients identify periods of elevated risk for suicide, and problem-solve how to safely store fi...