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Are you in crisis? Call 988. In immediate danger? Call 911

Lethal Means Safety for Yourself

Home 5 Lethal Means Safety 5 Lethal Means Safety for Yourself

Giving yourself breathing room in a difficult moment can be hard, but it is also very important. Below are some helpful ways to put time and distance between you and things you can use to end your life (such as guns or drugs). We call this lethal means safety.

If you are in crisis or need immediate support, visit the Get Help page for a list of 24/7 crisis lines.

Information for veterans: If you are a service member or veteran, here is information for veterans about lethal means safety. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
Getting a free gun lock in Rhode Island: Here is a list of local law enforcement offices in Rhode Island where you can pick up a free gun lock. (Project ChildSafe)
Firearm storage laws: Here is information about safe gun storage laws. (Giffords Law Center)

female service member seated in front of a door
Safety planning resources

Safety planning is a way of helping a person at risk of suicide create a plan to keep themselves safe during challenging times. You can create a safety plan for a family member, for a client or patient, or for yourself. Safety planning conversations can be hard, but they can save a life.

Lock To Live: This tool helps people thinking about suicide and their loved ones make decisions about reducing access to potentially dangerous objects in the home during a difficult time.
Start the Conversation: Safety Planning: A safety plan template that someone thinking about suicide can fill out with the help of a loved one, a trusted adviser, or a mental health professional.
Collaborate Safety Planning for Older Adults: A manual designed to be used by clinicians working with older veterans, but it is helpful for any older adult.

Laws to keep people safe

Extreme Risk Protection Order laws (ERPO laws), like their name suggests, are for the rare but dangerous situations in which a person poses serious risk to themselves or others and needs to be temporarily kept from accessing firearms. States have different approaches to ERPO laws, also called “red flag laws,” so it’s important to know the laws in your state.

Rhode Island’s Extreme Risk Protection Order laws:

General overview: Here is a general overview of the ERPO law in Rhode Island. (Giffords Law Center)
Comparison to other states’ laws: This is a brief overview of the ERPO law in Rhode Island; the webpage has links to other states’ ERPO laws for comparison. (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)
Video discussion: Here is an interview in which representatives from the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association discuss Red Flag policy in Rhode Island. (WPRI-TV, 2018)

ERPO Laws in the United States:

Fact Sheet: Here is a fact sheet about the impact of ERPO laws in states that have them. (Everytown)

Rhode Island resources for lethal means safety

Medicine drop-off sites: See where you can drop off unwanted or expired medications in Rhode Island.
Free medicine lock bags: Use this form to request a free medication lock bag. This will help you lock up medicines in your home. Lock bags and boxes are also sold by major retailers.
Overdose prevention in Rhode Island: Read about opioid safety and overdose prevention.

man scrolling through phone while reclining on the couch with a catBridge safety in Rhode Island: Partner organizations and groups are working towards greater safety on Rhode Island’s bridges. You can see some of that work here:
The RI Samaritans Helpline signs on local bridges (photo)
Bristol Health Equity Zone Suicide Prevention Group sign on Mount Hope Bridge (photo)
Bridging the Gap for Safety and Healing Facebook group

Useful Information about lethal means safety for everyone

Means Matter: Read all about the importance of lethal means safety on the Means Matter website from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Reduce Access to Means of Suicide: Learn why lethal means safety is important, what you can do, and how you can take action on this webpage from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
Lethal Means and Suicide Prevention for Industry and Community Leaders: Read about lethal means safety in this report from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
Lethal Means Safety & Suicide Prevention, Veterans Affairs: Read about veteran-oriented lethal means safety on this page from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jed’s Impact: Watch this brief video about the importance of restricting access to lethal means on college campuses and elsewhere in order to prevent suicide from the JED Foundation.
Information for range owners or retailers: Here is useful information for concerned gun range owners or firearm retailers. You can download a brochure or bring a Talk Saves Lives firearms presentation to your range or establishment.