Blocking the paths to suicide

April 17, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

One effective way to protect a person from dying by suicide is to restrict that person’s access to the means of ending his or her life, according to a growing body of research.  This approach, known as means restriction, complements approaches like mental health and substance abuse treatment. Means restriction includes modifying the environment to remove the means a suicidal person could use to take his or her life – modifications such as leaving a gun in a locked safe, or fencing off the walkway over a bridge. Cathy Barber, director of the Harvard Injury Control Center’s Means Matter campaign, explained that people attempting to end their lives tend to choose the method closest to hand, not the one that is most likely to be lethal. Contrary to public perception, many suicide attempts are not the result of long planning, and the majority of people who survive an attempt do not try again.

Spark Extra! Check out the nine-minute video Means Matter: How Bridge Barriers Help Prevent Suicide.