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Possession of Household Firearms and Firearm-Related Discussions with Clinicians Among Veterans Receiving VA Mental Health Care.

Valenstein M, Walters H, Pfeiffer PN, Ganoczy D, Ilgen MA, Miller MJ, Fiorillo M, Bossarte RM. Possession of Household Firearms and Firearm-Related Discussions with Clinicians Among Veterans Receiving VA Mental Health Care. Archives of suicide research : official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research. 2019 Apr 3; 24(sup1):260-279.

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Abstract:

To assess possession of household firearms among veterans receiving mental health care and the frequency of their discussions with clinicians about firearms. We surveyed random samples of veterans receiving mental health care in each of five purposively chosen, geographically diverse VA facilities; 677 (50% of recipients) responded. 45.3% (95% CI 41.2, 49.3) of veteran respondents reported household firearms; 46.9% of those with suicidal thoughts and 55.6% with a suicide plan had household firearms. Only 27.5% of all veteran respondents and 44% of those with recent suicidal ideation and household firearms had had a firearm-related discussion with a clinician. Many veterans receiving mental health care can readily access firearms, a highly lethal means for suicide. Increasing clinician-patient discussions and health system efforts to reduce firearm access might reduce suicide in this clinical population.





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