New Hampshire Pioneered Suicide Prevention Approach Now Used In Colorado

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At the gun shop, a heightened awareness of the link between guns and suicides
Shooters aim at bowling pins on Monday Night Bowling Pin Shoot in the firing range at Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center in Lakewood.

Seven years ago, in the small New Hampshire town of Hooksett, three customers walked into Riley's Sport Shop in the course of a week. Each customer walked out with a gun. Each committed suicide within a few hours.

The suicides sparked an unusual partnership between mental health experts and gun retailers, who teamed up for the New Hampshire Gun Shop Project. The program provides shop owners with tip sheets listing suicide warning signs, posters alerting customers to store guns carefully if friends or relatives are in crisis, and wallet cards with the number of a suicide-prevention hotline.

Colorado recently adopted its own Gun Shop Project, prompting Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner to wonder about the results of the New Hampshire program. Warner spoke with Cathy Barber, a senior scientist at Harvard's School of Public Health and a co-founder of the New Hampshire Gun Shop Project.