According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all suicides were by firearms in 2014, with suicide accounting for roughly two-thirds of gun deaths in the same year.
Using a synergistic approach, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization. Together, these powerful organizations are aiming to design and build a number of public education resources for firearm retailers, shooting ranges and firearm owners focusing on suicide prevention and firearms.
In October of 2015, the AFSP launched Project 2025, a four-phased plan to reduce the national suicide rate by 20 percent by the year 2025 by collaborating with other mental health organizations and leaders in related industry sectors such as the NSSF.
“AFSP’s programs have always been grounded in research, but Project 2025 marks the first large-scale, comprehensive effort to help us determine where we can reduce suicide through the most promising programs and interventions,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Project 2025 will provide new insights into which strategies can most effectively fight suicide and save lives.”
According to the AFSP, the Project 2025 four-phased approach includes:
- Analyze demographics, settings, psychosocial and psychiatric risk factors, and methods of suicide to find where prevention efforts may save the most lives.
- Survey the latest research and field data to identify the most effective prevention methods and determine how many lives each method would save when targeted at specific groups and settings with the highest suicide burdens.
- Develop a strategy that allocates funding, expertise, and time to the identified prevention methods, and set goals for each, measured in lives saved.
- Collaborate with partners across public and private sectors on the prevention methods clarified by this analysis.
At this point, the two organizations are collaborating on AFSP’s firearm and suicide prevention pilot program across six AFSP chapters. Within 24 months, the two organizations aim to be operating the program on a national level across the United States.
“This partnership has been a true collaboration since we started conversations last year. AFSP sees this relationship as critical to reaching the firearms community,” said Robert Gebbia, AFSP CEO
“One of the first areas identified through Project 2025 was a need to involve the gun-owning community in suicide prevention. By joining forces with NSSF, we reach both firearm owners and sellers nationwide to inform and educate them about suicide prevention and firearms, and offer specific actions they can do to prevent suicide. Through Project 2025 analysis and the work of this partnership, we know that this public education has the potential to save thousands of lives.”
“The firearms industry has long been at the forefront of successful accident-prevention efforts and programs aimed at reducing unauthorized access to firearms. Since two-thirds of all fatalities involving firearms are suicides, we are now also in the forefront of helping to prevent these deaths through our new relationship with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,” said Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF President and CEO.