As a result of the emotional, social, and fiscal costs of suicide, in 2008 New Hampshire formed the Suicide Prevention Council, made up of state politicians, doctors, and mental health experts, in order to closely examine the factors contributing to the rise in youth suicide. The committee designed a plan in 2010 to lower the suicide rate in the state. The 2010 plan was comprehensive in nature as it addressed data collection, data and program evaluation, identifying at-risk individuals, and implementation programs to name the primary goals. Under this plan, a complete annual report on the progress on suicide reduction would be presented to the governor every two years. In addition, New Hampshire currently has nationally recognized suicide prevention programs such as Connect and is a model for many other states. While New Hampshire’s suicide prevention and treatment efforts have been lauded nationally, the growing problem of youth suicide within the state requires additional attention paid to specific young demographics, and their access to lethal means.
This report aims to complement the work of the Suicide Prevention Council. The purpose of this report to is to analyze how New Hampshire can build on existing youth suicide prevention programs to consider restricting access to the most lethal means of suicide – firearms – and to review what measures can be taken through education, incentives, and safety regulations to help those missed by current policies.