Area law enforcement, military join forces to address firearm safety and suicide prevention
Last updated 7/28/2021 at 9:08am | View PDF
The Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County (the Collaborative), a project of Community Health Partnership (CHP), has developed and released a video featuring local city, county and military leaders educating firearm owners and the public about the impact safe storage of firearms can have on reducing the number of deaths by suicide.
The video features El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, Fountain Director of Public Safety Chris Heberer, Lt. Col. Chris Jackson of the U.S. Air Force, Colorado Springs Police Chief Vincent Niski and Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal.
Recent data shows that more residents in El Paso County die by suicide involving a firearm then from homicides and motor vehicle accidents combined, and a firearm is far more deadly than any other method used to attempt suicide. Creators of this project say that "by respecting the culture and rights of citizens who own firearms, the Collaborative aims to engage them in helping to raise awareness and educate others about the important role gun owners play in preventing these tragedies."
"We appreciate the many firearm advocates in our community for engaging in discussions over the past one to two years about our high rates of firearm-related suicide and ways to decrease the overall number of people who die by suicide in our community," said Dr. Erik Wallace, associate professor of medicine and associate dean for Colorado Springs Branch at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Thanks to our firearm advocates and our local city, county and military leaders for crafting and delivering a message that will hopefully resonate with our community to take specific actions to decrease the number of our friends and families who die by suicide."
Through the production and release of this video, the Collaborative is seeking to make the community aware that suicide can be preventable when individuals recognize the signs of someone who might be considering suicide and take action to help them to the next steps of help and support. This can include storing firearms in a gun safe, keeping them locked or storing them voluntarily and temporarily outside the home.
If you or someone you know is at risk for attempting suicide, contact Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or the Crisis Text Line – Text "Home" to 74174.
Watch the video at https://spcollaborative.org/lethal-means-safety/
CHP exists to improve the health of the Pikes Peak region. CHP believes that our community is stronger together and serves as the "backbone" organization in a collective impact approach, which allows us to convene and act to improve community health. CHP has served as the backbone for the Collaborative since its inception in 2020.
About the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County
The Collaborative is an alliance of organizations and community leaders that have a collective purpose to design, organize, resource, and coordinate the implementation and maintenance of a unified strategy using the Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC) framework. The goal is to reduce suicide deaths in El Paso County by 20 percent by the year 2024.