Increase safety at home
Suicidal thoughts and actions are often impulsive. Having access to firearms, medications or other potentially lethal objects is a risk factor for suicide. Removing or blocking access to ways a child or teen might attempt suicide prevents them from immediately acting on an impulsive thought. Delaying an impulsive act reduces the chances of a suicide attempt.
Firearms account for about half of the suicide deaths in our area.
- We advise storing firearms outside the home, if possible.
- For firearms stored in the home, the safest approach is making sure firearms are:
- Stored locked up
- Ammunition locked up separately
- Free gun locks are available to families at all Security/Check-in desks at the Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus and Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas.
- Ask a security officer for a gun lock.
- One will be given to you – no questions asked.
- Share this information with all adults in your home. Talking about and planning firearm storage can be hard at times, but it can lead to lives saved.
- We are not against firearms. We are against our patients having access to firearms when they feel desperate.
Any kind of medicine can cause harm if used in the wrong way or by the wrong person. This includes medicines you can buy with or without a prescription. Some of the most dangerous overdoses we see include:
- Prescription medicines
- Allergy medicines
- Pain relievers
- Other medicines found in the home.
We recommend keeping only a small amount of medicine unlocked in a pill organizer (if being used). Lock up the rest in a safe and secure place such as a locked cabinet, drawer or box.
Dispose of any leftover prescription medicines to reduce the risk of accidental exposure or misuse.
- A medicine drop box is available from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week in the Outpatient Pharmacy at Children's Mercy Adele Hall campus.
- Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas has a medication drop box near the pharmacy in the lobby. It is available 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Many local pharmacies also have a medicine disposal program. Search online or ask your pharmacy for the nearest location.
Many medications are dangerous when combined with alcohol. We encourage you to limit access to alcohol in your home.
Share information about keeping medicines safe with all adults in your home.
- Limit access to sharp objects like knives and razor blades for those who self-injure.
- Death by hanging has become more common among youth. It is important to limit access to ropes and cords.
Have a strong safety plan and make sure to supervise young people at risk of suicide.
- Some parents do a “room sweep” to check for items that could be used in suicide.
- If you see something odd or that doesn’t make sense, do not hesitate to ask about it.
There are also ways you can help your child be proactive in preventing suicide. These include:
- Strong connections with family, friends and community.
- Contact with health care providers.
- Access to mental health providers.
- Good problem-solving skills.