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On Eve of Shooting Anniversaries, Communities Join in Support of Those Impacted by Gun Violence

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741

Washington, D.C., April 16, 2019 — As more attention is paid to gun violence in America, a spotlight is being shown on the impact of the pain and trauma on those struggling to cope in the aftermath of shootings. With a number of high-profile mass shooting anniversaries occurring this month, including the Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings, Brady, Team ENOUGH, the American Association of Suicidology, and the Disaster Distress Helpline joined with a number of high profile gun safety and suicide prevention organizations to raise awareness of how communities can support those impacted by gun violence.

A new resource released by the coalition identifies common emotional and physical reactions to the trauma associated with gun violence and provides tools to support those experiencing trauma and those seeking to help.

Brady president Kris Brown stated,

“Gun violence leaves physical and psychological scars that can take a lifetime to heal. We need to be there for the millions of survivors, loved ones of victims, and recovery workers on a daily basis, even as we work assiduously to end the scourge of gun violence in this country. As we reflect and honor those who have lost their lives to gun violence, including at Virginia Tech and Columbine, which will have anniversaries this week, we recommit our focus to assist survivors everywhere. We’re grateful to all those who have signed on to support our work with the American Association of Suicidology to reach out to those impacted by gun violence. To all those who have been affected in any way, shape, or form by this epidemic, know that we are with you. Know that you have people who love and care about you. Know that there is help.”

Colleen Creighton, Executive Director of the American Association of Suicidology, added,

“When someone is shot, whether in a mass shooting or suicide by gun, the ripple effects are devastating. While not everyone affected by mass violence goes on to experience thoughts of suicide or mental health issues, community support for survivors and for their loved ones is critical in the subsequent days, months, and years. Support for those who work in this field every day, including first responders, crisis workers, teachers, and school professionals, also creates a stronger community. Something as simple as reaching out to a loved one to see how they’re doing can do wonders. If you are worried that someone is in distress or feeling suicidal, don’t wait for someone else to take action. Be the person to help save a life.”

The new resource notes that traumatic events can cause emotional distress, particularly to survivors living or working in impacted areas, the loved ones of victims, and first responders, rescue, and recovery workers. It reminds of the importance of checking in, checking up, and checking often to support yourself and others in distress, and offers ideas of what to say to someone who may be in distress.

Supporting partners of the initiative include:

  • American Association of Suicidology
  • Brady
  • Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
  • Disaster Distress Helpline
  • Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence
  • Everytown for Gun Safety
  • Gays Against Guns
  • Grandmothers Against Gun Violence
  • Newtown Action Alliance
  • One Pulse for America
  • States United to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Vibrant Emotional Health
  • Women Against Gun Violence

To learn more about the effect of the presence of guns in suicide attempts and deaths, please see Brady’s 2018 report, “The Truth About Suicide & Guns.” To learn more about the safe storage of guns in the home, please visit endfamilyfire.org. AAS outlines a number of additional individual and population-level means safety guidelines in this 2018 policy statement.

Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the AAS’ Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

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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 the common sense. In the spirit of our founders Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 25 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.

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About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have an interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.


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