Suicide Prevention: OSU-Cascades researches firearm safety and suicide

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Graphics by Andrew Greenstone | The Broadside

Oregon State University-Cascades researchers received a $40,400 grant to investigate the connection between firearm safety and suicide.

The grant came from the University of Rochester’s Injury Control Center for Suicide Prevention and will be used to launch a study that will investigate firearm safety in regards to suicidal patients in primary care facilities, according to the research team.

The team will consist of OSU-Cascades professors Susan Keys, Chris Wolsko and Elizabeth Marino. Each of them have a background in varying disciplines, which will interlock to bring a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to the study, according to Keys.

“Members of the community bring an expertise to this issue,” said Keys, an associate professor and senior researcher at OSU Cascades. Keys will bring expertise in mental health as well as suicide prevention to the project.

This is a unique opportunity for the community to become a part of the research and to be actively engaged in the investigation, Keys explained.

The researchers will be listening to gun owners in the rural community to ensure that the values of gun owners and the necessary steps for firearm safety for suicidal patients do not conflict with each other.

The researchers are interested in a rural population since gun ownership is prevalent within that community. Elizabeth Marino, a cultural anthropologist as well as instructor, will address the appropriate messaging towards gun owners. Gun rights play a key role in the subculture that the researchers will focus on. Therefore, Marino will assure that gun rights are to be put into heavy consideration when finding a safety solution for suicidal patients.

Chris Wolsko, a psychology professor and social psychologist, will use his knowledge in the socio cultural composition of mental and behavioral health to introduce a deeper understanding of that perspective in the context to suicide prevention.

Mental health clinician Cheryl Emerson and the La Pine Community Health Center are also project partners for the research.

Together, this team will bring an interdisciplinary approach that will interweave various fields in order to tackle firearm safety for suicidal patients in primary care facilities, according to Keys.

Drew Burleigh | The Broadside

(Contact: dburleigh@cocc.edu)

 

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