Healthbeat: Bringing awareness to gun suicide

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NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Gun suicide takes a terrible toll on our nation. 23,000 people died last year from it.

Now, a campaign aims to prevent tragedies like that from happening. The campaign is called “End Family Fire”. With all of the things we cannot control during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one thing we can: safely storing our guns.

Man says, “All right. I’m in the house.” Woman on phone says, “Okay, what do you see?” Man says, “Nothing yet.” This frantic scene is from a gun suicide awareness PSA called “No Extra Life”. It’s called that because when someone attempts suicide with a gun, they rarely get a second chance to live a full life.

Man says,”It’s not here.” Woman says, “What?” Man says, “The gun is not here.” Woman says, “What do you mean? Where is it?” Man yells, “Cameron. Are you in there?” Cameron!”

The PSA is jolting.

“It is jolting and it should be,” End Family Fire Representative Kyleanne Hunter said.

Hunter tells Eyewitness News we need to be jolted out of our complacency. Nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides.

“If we are going to reduce the number of gun deaths, suicide needs to be the first thing that we are actually talking about,” Hunter said.

End Family Fire is calling for action. The campaign urges gun owners to keep their guns stored, locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition. Also recommended? Talking with family or friends who might be struggling during this pandemic.

“There’s a whole lot more uncertainty and we know gun sales are up. It is more important than ever to be jolted out of some of this complacency that we’ve been having and have these hard conversations,” Hunter said.

“It’s not too late for so many Americans who are going through these moments of crisis,” Adam Friedman said.

Friedman lost a grandfather to gun suicide in 2012. He encourages us to talk and listen to someone we know who may be struggling.

“These conversations can be hard but losing a loved one like when I lost my grandfather is one of the hardest things you can experience,” Friedman said.

“There is something non-political that we can do. There is something every single person can do to take action to prevent these,” Hunter said.

And prevent a fictional scene like this from becoming reality on the homefront.

For more information, visit endfamilyfire.org.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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