Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM)
Suicide is a leading cause of death for Oregon youth aged 15-24 and Oregon Veterans under the age of 45. We currently have the 8th highest rate of suicide in the nation. Locally, in the Metro region, four people die by suicide each week or more than 200 people each year and men over 65 have some of the highest rates in the region. It touches everyone and everyone can play a role in preventing suicide.
We know that many people that attempt suicide are as uncertain about suicide as they are about life. Research has consistently found that 90% of people who attempt suicide and survive will go on to live out their natural lives – not matter how serious their attempt may have been. Preventing these suicides requires all of us to work together to increase the safety of those at risk.
A key component that has proven to be effective is to reduce access to lethal means – particularly firearms, the leading method of suicide here and across the nation. A very important feature of this workshop is why and how to do this collaboratively and with respect for gun owners.
The prevention of suicide by firearm in the home is all about understanding the facts of suicide. On average, a suicidal person will take five minutes from the time they decide to kill themselves to the time they take action to do so. If there are no means available to that person to act on their decision, like large amounts of medication or an unsecured firearm, then the likelihood that that person will die by suicide drops significantly.
CALM is intended to assist helpers in offering strategies to help clients at risk of suicide and their families reduce access to lethal means, particularly (but not exclusively) firearms. The workshop will introduce participants to the knowledge and skill components included in the completed 2 hour, interactive workshop. CALM is a means reduction program developed at the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth and evaluated by researchers at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. The CALM workshop includes: a power point presentation regarding why CALM is effective and a model videotaped attempt scenario. CALM is recognized on the SPRC/AFSP Best Practice Registry, Section III. CALM is for anyone who works with people in a clinical/counseling situation such as health and mental health, veteran affairs, schools, peer support, clergy, domestic violence, etc.
At the completion of this workshop, participants will:
- Understand the association between access to lethal means and the risk of suicide death;
- Understand the contribution that reducing access to lethal means has on preventing suicide deaths.
- Have skills, language and resources to collaboratively discuss reducing access to lethal means with individuals at risk for suicide and/or their families.
- Be prepared to utilize these skills in both their professional and personal lives.