September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and Oak Park health officials are using the occasion to raise awareness of the significant public health issue in the United States created by firearm suicide.
More than 3,000 young people and 4,400 veterans die by firearm suicide annually, according to the CDC. Nearly six of every 10 firearm deaths in the U.S. are suicides.
Health officials note that these deaths are preventable, however, and one life-saving intervention is to disrupt a person’s access to a gun when they are in crisis.
Free gun locks are available from the Oak Park Public Health Department, and members of the public can pick them up at Village Hall, 123 Madison St.
Community members can also pick up a free gun lock by visiting the Health Department's partners at the Oak Park Township office at 105 S. Oak Park Ave. and Community Mental Health Board office, located in the Community Recreation Center building at 229 Madison St.
Find more information about safe gun storage on the Village website at www.oak-park.us/safestorage.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7 support to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or seeking other kinds of support related to suicide, mental health or substance by calling 988 – click here for more information.