Overdoses are by far the most common attempt method.
Items most often used for poisoning (overdose/ingestion) are:
- Medicines (both prescription and non-prescription)
- Drugs or alcohol
- Cleaning agents and supplies
- Insecticides and pest control
- Gardening agents
Some medicines are much more lethal in overdose than others.
- No medicine or combination of medicines is good in high amounts
- Over-the-counter medicines, such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, and cold medicines can be very dangerous when taken in high amounts
- Remove or lock up all poisonous agents, such as medicines and household or garden chemicals.
- Keep only a very limited supply of poisons in your home and store them in a lock box.
- Lock and monitor all medicines, prescription and over-the- counter, of all family members in the home.
- Youth will overdose on any medicine they can get, even if it is not theirs. All medicines should be accounted for at all times.
- Control and manage your child’s medicines by giving them at prescribed times and watching your child take it.
- Youth should not be in charge of their medicine at this time.
Sharps can cause a unique temptation for youth struggling with self-harm ideation. Sharps used for cutting or self- harm can be:
- Pencil sharpeners
- X-Acto knife
Items most often used for suffocation or strangulation are:
- Plastic bags
Note: Elaborate set-ups from high places are not needed for hanging. The only thing needed is leverage. This could be done with door knob or bed post.
- Remove or lock up all sharps and potential strangulation items.
- Some parents and caregivers struggle to lock all sharps or strangulation items in the family home:
- Another option (although less safe) is to limit the number of knives or strangulation items that are out. This will make it easier to see missing items.
- To remove all sharps and strangulation items, think about alternatives:
- Electric razors rather than razors
- Items with limited cords
- A check-in/check-out system
- Completely remove the most dangerous items!
Most youth who die by firearm suicide use a family member’s gun/rifle.
- 85 to 90 out of 100 self-inflicted gunshot wounds end in death as compared to 1 to 2 out of 100 overdose, cutting, or stabbing self-injuries end in death
- If highly lethal means are not easily accessible (especially firearms), suicidal people are more likely to delay an attempt or resort to less lethal means
Do you own a gun? Does your child have access to a gun?
Think about all access your child might have, such as grandparents, hunting buddies, and friends.
During a crisis, it is best to completely remove guns from the child’s home and car. You can use:
- Support people. A trusted friend or relative to store them away from home.
- Gun storage facilities.
- Lock boxes, safes, trigger locks, and cable locks that have key restrictions at home.
Be triple safe!
- Guns should be stored locked and unloaded, preferably in a lock box or gun safe.
- The ammunition should be locked and stored in a separate place.
Other safe storage strategies below for sharps, fire starters, weapons, medicines, and chemicals.
- Use locked storage for hazardous materials or weapons.
- Choose a careful hiding place.
- Store the key or combination in a separate place.
- Assume your child knows where the key or box is hidden.
- Change the keypad combinations.
- Store lethal combinations, such as bleach and ammonia or firearms and ammunition, in separate places.
Remember: the main goal of restriction is to lock or remove unneeded items from the home.