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Male youth sittingTake Action - Remove the Method

Every effort must be made to remove access to lethal means from a suicidal person, while keeping yourself safe. Lethal means is defined as an instrument or object used to carry out a self-destructive act like a firearm, poison, medication, rope, alcohol, chemicals and/or other hazardous material. It is very important to help parents or caretakers understand the need to remove access to lethal means, and give them all the information you have such as what the lethal mean is, where, when and how the person plans to use it.

Even though it is not possible to completely "suicide proof" a house, action can be taken to keep a suicidal person safe during a time of crisis. Ideas for safe removal of lethal means are to:


  • Call the local, county or state police department if someone is in danger of harming themselves or others. Police officers will talk to you about the safe removal of firearms.
  • Lock the firearm and remove the keys. Note: this does not guarantee the person will not have access to the gun.
  • Store the firearm safely, in a place that is not accessible to people who are suicidal.


  • Remove ropes, extension cords, and other kinds of items. Things like dog leashes and jump ropes may be dangerous too.


  • Remove all prescription and over the counter medicines from the house or keep them locked up. Be sure the person at risk does not know where the medicines are kept.
  • Adults needing prescription medications should carry their medicines with them at all times.


  • Remove access to alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol is often involved in a suicide.


  • Poisoning is the most common method of non-fatal self-inflicted injuries for both males and females.
  • Remove all possible poisons from the home. Though self-poisoning is usually not as lethal as a firearm, the Internet and books give "recipes" for suicide.