Lethal Means Action Team: Means Safety for our Homes and Community

One of the most powerful steps we can take to save lives in Marin County is to create safe environments in our homes, workplaces, schools, and community. Many suicide attempts take place during a short-term crisis, so it is important to determine a person’s access to lethal means during these periods of increased risk.  According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,  most people in suicidal crisis who don't have easy access to a lethal suicide method will not simply find another way to kill themselves. Interrupting access during a crisis period can save lives.

The Lethal Means  Action Team actively partners with other community groups to reduce suicidal risk through means safety.  The Team is comprised of members from the: Gun Safety Collaborative (housed in the DA's Office) and BradyOD Free Marin (ODFM) and  Marin Healthy Youth PartnershipsMarin County Office of Education and Marin Schools Gun SafetyGolden Gate Bridge and the Bridge PatrolSMART Train, and a local ligature prevention researcher.


The Team has recently produced, "Reducing Access to Lethal Means: A Guide for Caregivers in Marin County" to help support creating safe environments (available in Spanish). Please also visit Striving for Safety as a new resource!


Providers interested in learning ways to counsel clients and patients in lethal means can participate in a free Counseling for Access to Lethal Means (CALM) training. Email here for more information. 

Striving for Zero Suicide: Reducing Access to Lethal Means Event 2022

The Marin County Suicide Prevention Collaborative takes a cross-sectoral approach to reducing access to lethal means. In 2022, a panel event was held with representation of local and national experts discussing ways to reduce lethal means access. Presenters: Captain Roger Elauria, Bridge Patrol Captain, Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District; Dominique McDowell, HOPE Team Program Manager, UCSF-OBIC Clinic; Jeffrey DeVido, MD, Addiction Services, Marin County Health and Human Services; Steve Diamond, Program Director for Suicide Prevention, Buckelew Programs; Colleen Creighton, Director, End Family Fire, Brady. Hosted by Lynn Murphy, LCSW, San Rafael Police Department.

Reducing Suicide Through Firearm Safety 

Here in Marin, almost 80% of gun deaths are firearm suicides (vs. 60% nationally).  These are preventable tragedies.  This Team leads awareness campaigns, supports student projects, partners with CBO's, and shares firearm safety messages to save lives.  Here are three easy steps you can take to prevent suicide and injury in our community:

  1. Safe Storage: If you own firearms, always store your firearms locked, unloaded, away from ammunition and inaccessible to children. Obtain a lock here.
  2. Voluntary relinquishment: You don’t need to wait for a gun buyback to turn in unwanted firearms. If you no longer want your firearm/s or you temporarily are concerned about having  firearms in your home, you can contact local law enforcement to request temporary storage of your firearms or to voluntarily relinquish them. 
  3. Gun Violence Restraining Orders(GVROs):  If someone you know is expressing thoughts of suicide or self-harm and you are concerned about their access to firearms, a Gun Violence Restraining Order may be available through law enforcement or the courts to temporarily remove and prevent the purchase of firearms.  Time and space between a person in crisis and firearms can save lives.

To learn more, email here.  For GVROs presentation/training: Contact Pellie Anderson at panderson@bradyunited.org.

In the News!  The Gun Buy Back event, held in June 2022, helped to remove unwanted firearms from homes in exchange for cash.  View this news coverage video or click on the image.

Available!  To obtain a copy of the Firearms and Suicide Prevention brochure, email here.

OD Free

Reducing Access to Substances to Prevent Overdose and Suicide

Substances are commonly involved in a death by suicide. The Marin County Suicide Prevention Collaborative partners with OD Free Marin and Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships to understand the role substances can play in mental health and suicidal behavior through events and materials.  Let's Talk Booklets developed by the Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships provide education and resources for youth substance use prevention.

More recently, the WTF campaign was created in partnership with the Marin IJ, Marin Community Foundation and Good Stuff to create life-saving awareness to reduce overdose in our community.  Marin HHS Communication and Media Team and OD Free Marin spearheaded this campaign.

Reducing Bridge Access: The Suicide Deterrent System at the Golden Gate Bridge

The Suicide Deterrent System, also known as the Safety Net, is in construction to keep people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The Suicide Prevention Collaborative partners with the Golden Gate Bridge Patrol to collect data and to understand the progress of the Safety Net through the Bridge Patrol Captain. Annual data collected help us understand key trends impacting demographic groups.  Over the past 5 years, almost 90% of the time first responders negotiated with someone at the Golden Gate Bridge, they were successfully able to intervene.  Connections can save lives. However, the proximity and presence of the bridge to Marin County underscores the urgency of our prevention efforts.

In the news!  Please read recent New York Times article featuring update on the Safety Net.


Reducing Access to Rail Tracks

The Suicide Prevention Collaborative partners with SMART train by creating campaign content and messaging for train passengers and the surrounding community.  Awareness campaigns have focused on conductor announcements, brochures on wall racks within the train, placement of 988 hotline signs, and personal hygiene  kits for those living unhoused along the rail tracks with 988 information.


Preventing Suicide by Hanging 

Palo Alto University doctoral student Samantha O’Neill and loss survivor is seeking research participants for her doctoral dissertation that aims to better understand the lived experience of those who have attempted suicide or lost a loved one to suicide by hanging.

More research is needed to help understand suicide by hanging and inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. Participants are required to partake in a one-time 60 minute interview. Interviews will be conducted online via Zoom.  Please refer to the eligibility requirements on the flyer. All participants will be compensated with a $30 digital Amazon gift card for their participation in this study. For eligibility screener and study details, click here. Feel free to contact the principal investigator, Samantha O'Neill (soneill@paloaltou.edu), with any questions or concerns about the study.