Tag Archives: firearms

Researchers and organizations addressing prevention of gun suicides as they surge

Photo by Eduardo Vázquez’s via Unsplash.com.

Recent CDC data has revealed that roughly half of suicides nationwide are by firearms. Forty percent of respondents from a Pew Research Center June 2021 survey said they lived in a household that had guns; 30% said they owned a gun.

During a pandemic where a record number of Americans reported heightened suicidal ideation and other severe mental stress, those data are significant, at least in part, because gun sales have also surged during the past couple of years. 

A glance at research

Gun ownership heightens risks of suicide by firearm, a series of studies over the years have concluded. Among the largest and most recent of them is a Stanford University study published in June 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that men who owned guns were eight times more likely to die than men who didn’t of a self-inflicted gunshot and that the rate of suicide by firearm among women who owned hand guns was 35 times the rate of women who didn’t. Tracking risks from day one of a gun purchase, the analysis examined 26 million Californians across 12 years ending in 2016.

A commentary by a Boston emergency room physician published in the JAMA Network Open cited a 59% increase in firearm suicides by teens between 2010 and 2019, outpacing a 29% spike in other forms of suicide during that period. Teen males used a firearm 51% of the time and teen females 25% of the time.

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Persistent threats to U.S. children’s health the focus of #AHCJ19 session

Ali H. Mokdad

While measles may be the hot topic in the news at the moment for children’s health, it’s far from the only concern. Even as the historical success of vaccines has reduced child mortality and morbidity from infectious disease, chronic disease, assault and injuries have increasingly become killers of U.S. children.

These were among the issues Ali H. Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, discussed during his session at Health Journalism 2019, “From measles to obesity: Key health trends affecting children and adolescents.” Continue reading

Firearm data resources for reporting on the Orlando mass shooting

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJU.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has launched a campaign to address the epidemic of opioid addiction.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJU.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., spoke about gun violence as a public health issue at Health Journalism 2016. Click here to see his comments.

In light of the mass shooting in Orlando, many journalists covering the event will need access to statistics on firearms, legislation, past mass shootings and related information to add context to their posts. It’s often challenging to find this information, and all of the reported data has flaws in methodology or data collection.

Even though it can be tricky to find reliable stats related to firearms and firearm injuries and deaths, journalists can compile a pretty good big picture by visiting several sites and pooling their data. Here are some data resources compiled from AHCJ’s Medical Studies Core Topic. Continue reading