Suicide Prevention Tool for Patients in Crisis

Peaks Betz 250(May 2020) Clinicians and researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine partnered with Grit Digital Health to create Lock to Live, a web resource to help suicidal adults and their family, friends, or health providers make decisions about reducing access to firearms, medications, and other potential suicide methods.

The self-administered online tool guides a person through detailed questions on storage factors and personal preferences. It then displays storage or disposal options for firearms and medications, including logistical considerations like cost and legal issues.

A pilot trial for Lock to Live was completed at three large emergency departments in Colorado to test the feasibility and acceptability of the tool for adults with suicidal thoughts or behavior.

“Efforts in healthcare settings, like providing this tool to change how dangerous items are stored, can make a big difference for people in crisis,” said Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of the project. “This isn’t about gun control. It’s about helping people take action to keep themselves and their loved ones safe during tough times.”

The results of the pilot trial were published in January, showing that the Lock to Live tool was feasible in a clinical setting, with no issues accessing the content on a tablet in the emergency department and that using it did not interrupt the patient experience.

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