Motivating Behavior Change in Parents for Suicide Prevention in the Midwest, USA.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1007/s10900-022-01077-5


Safe storage of lethal means is an evidence-based approach to suicide prevention that is underutilized. This naturalistic study investigated whether a presentation on parenting teenagers that includes education about safe storage of firearms and medications, paired with tools to enact change, can impact storage practices. Ten community presentations for parents were given between November 2018 and September 2019 in the Midwest region of the United States. Multiple topics pertinent to parenting adolescents were included with an emphasis on safe storage of firearms and medications to reduce suicide risk. Toolkits including medication storage boxes and cable gun locks were offered to help parents enact recommended changes. Surveys were completed prior to the presentation (T1), immediately following the presentation (T2), and 2 weeks after the presentation (T3). Five-hundred eighty-one parents comprised the initial study sample, of whom 410 (70.6%) completed the primary study endpoint. Generalized linear mixed models with and without worst-case imputation were used to evaluate changes in safe storage practices. Results suggested the odds of storing firearms in the safest manner possible increased 5.9 times (95% CI 2.6-13.5, p < 0.001) without imputation and increased 2.0 times (95% CI 1.1-3.4, p = 0.02) with the worst-case imputation. Among participants with unlocked medications at baseline, 56.5% reported they had disposed of old medications and 53.0% reported locking up bottles of medication by the primary study endpoint. This study provides preliminary evidence that safe storage education paired with tools for behavior change motivates parents to enact safe storage measures.

Journal Title

Journal of community health





First Page


Last Page



Firearm; Means restriction; Parent education; Poisoning; Suicide prevention

Library Record