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New Firearm Suicide Prevention Campaign Launching in Missouri

End Family Fire Missouri, created in partnership with Missouri Foundation for Health, the Ad Council, and Brady, is promoting safer firearm storage

ST. LOUIS, MO (April 25, 2022) – This week, Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) announces the launch of End Family Fire Missouri, a two-year campaign in partnership with the Ad Council and Brady designed to raise awareness of the risks of unsecured firearms in the home in relation to gun suicide. Though many people immediately think about homicides or mass shootings when the topic of firearm violence is raised, the leading cause of gun deaths in Missouri and nationwide is suicide. In fact, more than six out of 10 suicides in Missouri involve a firearm. This campaign will reach Missourians through a variety of mediums, beginning with a coordinated digital push featuring public service advertisement videos and banners.

“With firearms playing such an outsized role in suicides throughout the state, we want to start a conversation about how we can encourage safer storage and look out for one another in moments of crisis,” explained Jessi LaRose, Senior Strategist-Initiatives at MFH. “The legacy of a single suicide tears through a community, leaving untold damage in its wake. We all have a part to play in preventing suicides, and making firearm safety a part of that effort makes perfect sense."

“Missouri’s suicide rates are consistently higher than the national average. In fact, in 2020, Missouri’s firearm suicide rate was 1.5 times higher than the national rate,” said Brady Director of End Family Fire Colleen Creighton. “This is a crisis, but one that is eminently solvable. We are proud to work with Missouri Foundation for Health to help raise awareness of the dangers of unsecured firearms in the home to help save lives.”

The End Family Fire campaign, launched in 2018, is wholly dedicated to reducing firearm deaths and injuries in the home through enhancing safe storage practices among gun owners. The work is strictly non-partisan in nature and brings firearm owners into the conversation to have them be part of the solution.

End Family Fire was developed using broad and deep research, including qualitative and quantitative methodologies at every stage. Expert advisory panels were conducted for each round of work. The campaign has been vetted by mental health and gun violence prevention experts and tested in market research to ensure it resonates with gun owners. Tracking study results from the campaign unequivocally speak to the success and impact of this effort. Firearm owners who are exposed to the campaign messaging are shifting their attitudes and behavior around safe gun storage.

As part of MFH’s larger Firearm Suicide Prevention initiative, this communications effort is especially important if we are to make clearer to the general public the direct and deadly connection between firearms and suicide. In addition, for several years MFH has been engaged in research around how firearm owners themselves think about safety, as well as how to communicate and engage about the issue most effectively. In 2021, MFH launched the Missouri Firearm Suicide Prevention Learning Cohort. Over a 24-month period, seven planning grantees from across the region are working to develop promising gun-suicide prevention approaches that will focus on reducing firearm suicide rates among specific populations that are at highest risk.

Visit End Family Fire Missouri to learn more about suicide prevention, safe firearm storage, and to view videos from the campaign. Additional content will be added over the course of the effort.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.

About End Family Fire

With more than 4.6 million children living in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun, End Family Fire, a joint effort from Brady and the Ad Council, aims to put a name to the preventable tragedies that occur when these guns are misused. “Family fire,” a term developed for the campaign, refers to a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home that results in death or injury. Incidents may include unintentional shootings, suicides, and other gun-related tragedies. The campaign aims to bring awareness to the issue of family fire, give gun owners a role in gun violence prevention, and encourage a national dialogue around safe storage practices—all of which can help prevent further family fire-related tragedies.

About the Ad Council

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation's most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels.

The Ad Council's innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org.

About Missouri Foundation for Health

Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes.

Learn more at mffh.org

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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