KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Officials Consider Suicide’s Place In Mental Health Gun Control Debate

Officials are looking at suicides as a major cause of gun death in America. In Maryland, a mental health gun control task force is considering recommending that medical personnel report suicide threats to authorities while suicides also take center stage in Massachusetts.

Baltimore Sun: Psychiatrists, Mental Health Advocates Uneasy With Gun Policy Prescriptions
Sitting around a broad table in a nondescript office in Reisterstown last week, more than a dozen mental health advocates, medical professionals and law enforcement officials stared tensely at one another. Nearly a month after the state-created task force issued a report outlining its findings on psychiatric patients' access to firearms, several members were questioning a key recommendation -- that mental health professionals should be required to report to law enforcement all patients who threaten suicide. "Some people say they would be reporting every single person who walked through their door," said Dan Martin, a panel member representing the Mental Health Association of Maryland (Rector, 1/28).

WBUR: Guns, Suicide, Mental Health (Audio)
Along with the rest of the nation, Massachusetts is engaged in a loud debate about guns, gun rights and how to reduce gun violence. Over the weekend, some 200 supporters of tighter gun control rallied at the State House. It came just one week after 700 2nd amendment advocates protested gun control legislation being proposed on Beacon Hill. At the heart of the debate: how to keep guns out of the hands of people like Adam Lanza, who massacred 26 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The debate has focused on assault weapons, high capacity magazines and how to stop potential killers. But relatively little is being said about the biggest cause of gun deaths in America: suicides (1/28).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.