HealthDay News — People who commit suicide with a firearm are more likely to have talked about suicide in the month before ending their lives, according to a study published online March 14 in JAMA Network Open.
Allison E. Bond, from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues used data from 234,652 suicide decedents (2003 to 2018) to evaluate differences in treatment seeking and suicidality between suicide decedents who died by firearms and those who died by other methods.
The researchers found that compared with suicide decedents who died by another method (50.1%), those who died by firearm (49.9%) were more likely to have disclosed thoughts or plans of suicide within the month prior to death (odds ratio [OR], 1.16) and were less likely to have previously attempted suicide (OR, 0.44). Those who used a firearm for suicide were more likely to have had a history of suicidal thoughts or plans (OR, 1.19) and to have disclosed their thoughts or plans of suicide within the month prior to death (OR, 1.06) compared with those who died by poisoning or by hanging (OR, 1.14 for disclosure). Only 26.6% of those who died by suicide with a firearm had a history of treatment versus 40.7% of those who died by other means.
“The finding that firearm suicide decedents were more likely to disclose their suicidal thoughts or plans provides an important avenue for prevention,” the authors write.