On what turned out to be the patient's last visit to the doctor's office, the man gave Dumont a gift:
"What in hindsight struck me about that visit is that he brought me a gift, which was a geological survey marker from the top of Longs Peak ... And what I didn't realize at the time was that that was, I think, a farewell gift, or a bit of a parting gift, from him. Because I did not see him again. And the next that I had heard of him was from an emergency phone call from his wife about a month later, and she called needing to be seen. ... She had to come in and talk to me [about] how to deal with the fact that her husband had committed suicide."Dumont's patient was being treated for depression, and he shot himself with a rifle; and the doctor regrets not asking the man if he had guns in his home:
Dumont says he thinks more physicians would talk with their patients about guns if they got information about health risks associated with them.BJ Ayers has lost two sons to firearm suicide, yet she knows that -- living in Cheyenne, Wyo., famous for its frontier culture -- addressing the role of guns in suicide can be challenging. In another NPR story, Ayers said,
"It's not that we want to take the gun away from the gun owner. We know that we have responsible gun owners in Wyoming. It's, you know, Wyoming is a gun state. We're rich in that history."
"I think gun control is at one end of a very long table, and access to lethal means is at the other end of that very long table, and I think they're two different things" ...
Ayers says suicide prevention has to be focused on firearm safety. That is, requiring that locks be included with all gun purchases. Much of her work is also in education. She stresses to people that guns should be locked away in homes, and she teaches everyone how to talk to people who may be suicidal, and get them immediate help.
In fact, Ayers operates a foundation, Grace for 2 Brothers, that is committed to the cause of suicide prevention: "My hope is to help," she says, "Just one life at a time."
Ayers is also featured in a superb HuffPost Live story, "Gun Access & Suicide," in which reporter Josh Zepps interviews Ayers and Paul Barrett, author of Glock: The Rise of America's Gun, Catherine Barber, Director of the Means Matter Campaign, and Elaine Frank, Director of CALM, Counseling on Access to Lethal Means.* Note: The hyperlink is to the American Association of Suicidology's Clinician Survivor Task Force page, which is one of the resources featured in the Suicide Grief Support Quick Reference.