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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. — Today, 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.