Veterans have a disproportionately high suicide rate and their use of firearms as a method is substantially higher than non-Veterans (73.8%, compared to 53.6% of non-Veterans). The Injury and Violence Prevention Branch of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recently published recommendations for firearms safety. Firearms safety is also priority number three of the NC Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide.

– White males consistently have the highest suicide rate followed by American Indian males.
– Males use firearms as a suicide method at a higher percentage than females (62% vs. 36.2%).
– Adults age 65 and up have high rates of suicide and their use of firearms as a means of suicide is 78%.
– Youth suicides by firearms are 53%, with the majority of those being male.4
– Rural areas have higher rates of suicide, attributable in part to socio-economic differences, higher firearm ownership, access barriers to healthcare and transportation. Although urban areas have lower suicide rates, more suicides occur in urban areas because of greater population. Two rural NC counties–Carteret and Macon–have implemented the program, Together With Veterans, to increase awareness and educate about suicide prevention.

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