Firearms risk management in psychiatric care

Psychiatr Serv. 2001 Aug;52(8):1057-61. doi: 10.1176/


Objective: This study sought to assess the effectiveness of a firearms risk management program.

Methods: A firearms risk management program, which included multidisciplinary assessment, treatment, and discharge planning, was developed and implemented among 46 civilly committed psychiatric inpatients at the Twin Valley Psychiatric System, a behavioral health organization of the Ohio Department of Mental Health.

Results: The research sample comprised mainly men who had personality disorders and histories of substance abuse and who had expressed an intent to use a firearm to commit suicide. On discharge, none of the patients had access to a firearm. Of the 16 patients who were hospitalized during the next 24 months, only five were noted to have threatened to harm themselves or others with a firearm or to have access to a firearm.

Conclusions: Multidisciplinary and focused assessment, treatment, and discharge planning can be effective in neutralizing the risk of firearms use among psychiatric patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Mental Health Services / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Risk Management