As Explained in a Project Unloaded Fact Sheet, the Rise in Youth Mental Health Issues and an Increase in Household Gun Ownership Create a Deadly Combination
CHICAGO – Project Unloaded, an organization working to reduce gun violence through cultural campaigns debunking the myth that guns increase safety, released a new fact sheet today to mark the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month. The new fact sheet explains that gun-owning households experience more suicide fatalities and highlights the increased risk of suicide for youth of color and LGBTQ youth. It also delves into the importance of secure storage of firearms and why that necessary step does not fully mitigate the elevated risk of suicide that comes with having a gun at home.
“To reduce gun deaths in America, we have to talk about why we have so many gun suicides – and the answer to that question can largely be found in our country’s high rate of household gun ownership,” said Nina Vinik, founder and executive director of Project Unloaded. “Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths, including more gun suicides. And while older white men make up the bulk of gun suicide victims, the demographics are shifting and suicide fatalities by young people are increasing. It’s essential that young people and their parents know how having a gun at home can put their loved ones at greater risk of a mistake they can’t take back.”
To reach young people with the message that having a gun puts them at greater risk of gun death, including suicide, Project Unloaded runs creative cultural campaigns sharing simple facts on the risks of having a gun. Its signature campaign, SNUG (Safer Not Using Guns), has more than 2 million views on TikTok and has been seen by millions of teens on Snapchat and Instagram as well.
“It’s hard to feel safe with constant reminders of how gun violence continues to take the lives of young people and our loved ones,” said Lily Lee-Sin, co-chair of Project Unloaded’s Youth Council. “But a gun isn’t a path to safety. Instead, having a gun at home puts everyone in the household at greater risk of death. Particularly with so many young people struggling with their mental health, we all should learn the facts about how we’re Safer Not Using Guns.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or experiencing suicidal ideation, call or text 988 to reach the free Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.