Talk to Someone FAQ

Need help right away?

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-8255 (Veterans PRESS 1)

Trans Lifeline:
877-565-8860

TTY users:
1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)

Crisis Text Line:
Text HOME to 741741

These resources are free and available at all times.

Your Selected Medicine Storage Options

Family, Friend, Neighbor
(FREE)
  • Quick and easy to get the dangerous item out of the house
  • Item is stored with a person you trust
  • Do not have to re-buy item when it is safe
  • Can make it challenging if you need to use item
  • Consider: Lock up or limit access to dangerous items while you arrange to store the items with someone safe
Locked Up at Home
($)
  • Can leave out a small amount of daily medicines or for emergencies
  • Best option for medicines that need to be used daily
  • May need to purchase a new lock or box, so costs may vary
  • Can be purchased in most drugstores, or online
  • Item can still be accessible to you
  • Can be at home or away from home
  • Can be stolen or taken apart
  • Consider: Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide
Disposal (Look online for safe options)
(FREE)
  • Can be done quickly and easily in many cases
  • Some cities have community drug take-back programs
  • Many prescriptions and medicines cannot be flushed down a toilet or drain
  • Will need to buy new items when risk period is over
  • Consider: Lock up any dangerous items while you decide how to dispose of items
Other
($)
or
(FREE)
  • You may know of other options based on your job (such as a place to store items). There may be community groups that are able to store, donate, or dispose of items.
Next Step

You don’t have to do this alone.

It’s a good idea to have someone you trust help store things that could be dangerous.

You said earlier that you could go to a %helper% for help storing %subject% that could be dangerous for your child.

Who is someone you trust to help you with safe storage?

Select All That Apply

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

During times when your child is upset or could be at risk, it’s important to do what you can to make sure your child is not alone and is with someone who can keep them safe.

Make sure your child is with someone you trust.

When your child visits other homes, you may want to ask about guns, other dangers, and adults in the home.

If you are unsure that your child will be safe, don’t take a risk, make other plans.

Next Step

You may still be unsure about which storage option is best for you. You can read parent stories below.

See Their Stories

My child does not really want to die. They are just saying that.

Mariela’s Story: “When my daughter came to me and told me that she had taken some pills because she wanted to die I thought it was just a reaction to my divorce. The doctor said she had not taken enough to hurt herself, so I thought it was probably just a cry for attention. I tried to be really understanding, but I didn’t take it seriously. However, a month later I found her after she swallowed a full bottle of Aspirin, and she had to be rushed to the hospital. I am so glad she is ok. I hate to think what would have happened if I came home late that day. The doctors later told me that with each attempt, the person is more likely to die. I wish I had taken the first attempt more seriously. Now, everything is locked up in the home, or kept in my locker at work. She is never alone and she is in therapy that seems to really be helping.”

Points to Consider:

  • Even suicide attempts that do not appear dangerous to you should be taken seriously as attempts to die
  • With each suicide attempt that is made, the chances of death can increase

I can’t lock up my medicine. I need to take it every day!

Joe’s Story: “I have diabetes, and I need to take insulin every day. I became worried when I saw that my child seemed to have changed, was down and more angry, and didn’t want to do anything. I chose to make our home safer while she starts therapy. After talking to my doctor, we determined it was safe to keep one day’s dose of insulin easily available, and locked the rest of my medicines up using a lock-box. Every morning, I take out the insulin I will need, and then I keep the key with me all day.”

Points to Consider:

  • You can have one day’s dose of medicine on hand and store the rest in a lock-box
  • Every night you can take out the next day’s dose

Why should I lock up my medicine? He can just walk to the drugstore to buy more if he really wanted!

Teen Story: “My parents decided to follow my counselor’s suggestion that they should lock things up when I was having a hard time. One day after some kids were being jerks at school, I was feeling really down. I wanted to go to sleep forever, but when I was looking for my mom’s sleeping pills I could not find them. When I was thinking about what to do next, my mom came home and noticed I was upset. She helped me calm down and took me to a doctor. I am alive, and feel better now, and am really glad my mom was there and had locked everything away. ”

Points to Consider:

  • Locking up easily accessible medicine buys time for emotional distress to decrease or for a support figure to intervene
  • Going to the drugstore takes time and effort that a teen may not be willing to spend during a crisis

There is no safe option to get rid of medicine in my community.

Nicole’s Story: I was really worried about my child when they said they wanted to hurt themselves. I gave away all of my alcohol and cleaning supplies, and stored many dangerous items outside of the home with only a few items in a lock-box. However, I was not sure about what to do with my over-the-counter medicines and gardening pesticides, since there is no program that will recycle the medicine in my town. So, I removed all of the pills from their containers and mixed them with our cat’s used kitty litter. I then put it in an old coffee can to stop it from leaking out, and threw it away. I mixed the pills with used kitty litter to keep pets and my child away from it in the trash. I donated the pesticides to a nearby gardening club.”

Points to Consider:

  • There are other options to dispose of medicines such as mixing them with kitty litter and throwing them away
  • Community organizations such as gardening clubs may accept pesticides

Submit
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Everyone goes through tough times.

Some kids may feel sad or hopeless, some may feel angry or frustrated, some may turn to drugs or alcohol, some may have thoughts of suicide.

Thoughts and feelings can last for minutes, hours, days, or longer. The choice to act is often sudden.

Tough moments don’t last forever. Small changes in storing dangerous things can make a big difference.

There are many ways to store potentially dangerous items. You may have storage methods in mind, but it can be helpful to think about storage again. When taking the first steps for storage, you should be aware of some common and everyday items that could be potentially dangerous. These may include:

  • Sharp objects, like knives, scissors, and razor blades
  • Ropes, cords, bags, or other items that can be used to hang yourself
  • Chemicals and poisons, such as bleach, drain cleaner, or nail polish remover
  • Access to high places
  • Firearms

Thinking through a few questions can help you find the best storage option today.

Next Step

Are there times when your child is alone?

Think about before/after school or when you have to go out for something (e.g. haircut, grocery store).

SELECT ONE

These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Other people may be able to stay with your child when you are not around. Explore and pick options below.

Adults (other parent, grandparent, friend, neighbor, or other adult)
  • Some adults can reliably keep your child safe
  • Adults may have busy schedules
  • You may not feel close enough to other adults for this
  • May strain relationship with adult
  • May strain relationship between child and adult
  • Privacy may be an issue

Youth (child's trusted friend, sibling, or cousin)
  • Your child may enjoy being with them
  • Child may naturally want to spend time with other kids
  • Another child may not know when your child is unsafe
  • Another child may not know what to do or become overwhelmed
  • May strain child’s relationships
  • Privacy may be an issue

Supervised Activity (child's job, class, club, sport, or other activity)
  • Adults and other children may be present
  • Your child may enjoy the activity
  • Child may not be carefully watched
  • There may be problems getting your child to and from the activity
  • Child may leave
  • May be hard to limit access to all dangerous items
  • Child may find activity stressful

Indoor Security Camera/Baby Monitor
  • Allows you to monitor your child when you’re not there
  • Can talk with child through the camera
  • Works when other people cannot help watch your child
  • Could make matters worse and strain relationship with your child
  • Child may find this as an invasion of privacy
  • Even the best camera may miss something
  • Price varies, can be expensive

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Which of these are in your home?

Choose at least one of the following

Submit Answers

Who is someone you trust to stay with your child and keep them safe?

Select All That Apply

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

The safest storage method is the one that will make an item hardest to reach during a moment of crisis.

You said that you have these items in your home.

Which do you think is most dangerous for your child?

CHOOSE ONLY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING

Submit Answer

When children are at risk, another way to keep them safe is to have someone nearby that they trust, who can help them feel better and stay with them until they are calm.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust help make phone calls, hold onto potentially dangerous objects, take them to a storage facility, or help you store them either at home or elsewhere.

You said earlier that you could go to a %helper% for help storing items that could be dangerous for your child.

Who is someone who helps your child feel better or calm down when upset?

Select All That Apply

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

You don’t have to do this alone.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust help make phone calls, hold onto potentially dangerous objects, take them to a storage facility, or help you store them either at home or elsewhere.

You said earlier that you could go to a %helper% for help storing %subject% that could be dangerous for your child.

Who is someone you trust to help you with safe storage?

Select All That Apply

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Let’s Talk About Medicines Old

Medicines are a part of daily life. They can be prescription or found over-the-counter or for your pets. During tough times, it’s important to think about how to store these items safely.

Are you interested in learning more about medicines?

SELECT ONE

Continue

Medicines are often part of daily life.

Some people need to take medicines daily, while others may just need them in a health crisis. Think about the medicines in your home and answer the following questions:


    Do any of these medicines need to be taken every day?

    SELECT ONE

    Do any of these medicines need to be taken more than once a day?

    SELECT ONE

    Are there medicines needed for a health crisis, like for heart issues, seizures, or panic attacks?

    SELECT ONE

    Are there old, unused, or expired medicines that you could get rid of?

    SELECT ONE

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

During this time it’s important to let your child only stay with people you trust to provide a safe environment.

There’s a wide range of costs for storage options.

Some are free, some would require a one-time purchase, some have a monthly fee.

When looking for storage options for your firearms, how concerned are you about cost?

NOT AT ALL VERY
Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Some out of home storage options will ask for a background check.

How open are you to a background check?

NOT AT ALL VERY
See Options
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Explore and pick options for storage.

Out of Home Storage Options

Before bringing firearms to any of these places, call ahead to make sure that they can store them.

Family, Friend, Neighbor
(FREE)

  • Quick and easy to get the firearm out of the house
  • Firearm is stored with a person you trust
  • Some people are not allowed to possess firearms
  • States have different laws about person-to-person transfers
  • Consider: Lock up or limit access to dangerous items while you arrange to store the items with someone safe

Gun Shop or Dealer
($)

  • They are a trusted part of your firearms community
  • Some dealers may provide pick-up services
  • Some shops will not store firearms
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Shooting Range
($$)

  • They are a trusted part of your firearms community
  • A range may provide private lockers
  • Some ranges will not store firearms
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Commercial Storage Facility
($$$)

  • Does not require a background check
  • Renter decides who should hold the key (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)
  • Consider: Some facilities will not store firearms

Pawn Shop
($$$)

  • Available when other options are not
  • Short term commitment
  • Firearms may be sold
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Police/Sheriff (Please call ahead to understand storage options)
(FREE)

  • May know of storage options in the community
  • Some stations may store firearms themselves
  • Consider: Stations that store firearms will run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Other Out of Home
($)
or
(FREE)

  • You may know of other safe storage options. There may be community groups that are able to store firearms.

In Home Storage Options

These options should include storing your ammunition in a separate safe location.

Gun Safe
($$$)

  • Can store guns of many sizes
  • Strongest form of security, difficult to steal
  • Large, needs to fit in home
  • Cannot change combination on dial safes
  • Consider: Can add other safety measures (like a locking device or disassembly) (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)

Lock Box
($)

  • Can transfer key to a trusted person
  • Can be stolen or taken apart
  • Consider: Too small for some firearms

Locking Devices (like trigger or cable locks)
($)
or
(FREE)

  • Easy to use with most firearms
  • Some firearms must be unloaded to use
  • Some may be easy to break
  • Consider: Key needs to be kept separate (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)

Disassemble
(FREE)

  • Works with all types of firearms
  • Can give most parts to other people without background checks
  • Consider: Some firearms cannot be easily disassembled

Other In Home
($)
or
(FREE)

  • You may know of other options based on your job, like service or police jobs.

You may still be unsure about which storage option is best for you. You can read parent stories below.

See Their Stories

My child respects our guns and knows how to be safe with them.

David’s Story: “I have taken my son hunting with me every fall since he was young. However, he recently came to me and said that he was thinking of killing himself. Together, we decided to lock up the hunting rifles and my handgun, which I keep to protect the house. Even though he knows how to use a firearm safely, we did not want him to be able to get one when he was upset. I want my child to use guns, but right now locking them up keeps him from making a choice to use them to die.”

Points to Consider:

  • Your child may respect guns and know how to use them safely. However, this knowledge does not stop the choice to use a gun when your child is in crisis.

My child does not really want to die. They are just saying that.

Alessandra’s Story: “When my son came to me and told me that he had thoughts about wanting to die, I thought it was just a reaction to my divorce. I tried to be really understanding, but I didn’t take it seriously. However, a month later I found him in his bedroom with my handgun pressed against his head. Thank goodness I don’t store the bullets in the same place as my handgun and it turns out the gun was unloaded. I am so glad he is ok and didn’t know where to find the ammunition. I hate to think what would have happened if he had been able to load the gun. I wish I had taken his comments more seriously. Now, everything is locked up in the home, or kept in my locker at work. He is never alone, and he is in therapy that seems to really be helping.”

Points to Consider:

  • Any statement about wanting to die should be taken seriously
  • Taking an extra step in safe storage such as keeping a gun and bullets in different places can sometimes mean the difference between life and death

Next Step

Let’s Talk About Firearms

Many people own firearms or live in a place where one may be accessible.
Keeping dangerous items, like firearms, out of reach during this time can save a life.

9 out of 10

People who attempt suicide with a firearm die

Firearms are the most lethal method of suicide.

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/case-fatality/
Azrael, Deborah & Miller, Matthew J. "Reducing Suicide without Affecting Underlying Mental Health: Theoretical Underpinnings and a Review of the Evidence Base Linking the Availability of Lethal Means and Suicide." The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention. 2nd Edition. Ed. Rory C. O’Connor & Jane Pirkis. John Wiley & Sons, 2016. 637-662. Print.
Show Citation

Are there usually firearms in or near your home?

SELECT ONE

You don’t have to do this alone.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust help make phone calls, hold onto potentially dangerous objects, take them to a storage facility, or help you store them either at home or elsewhere.

You said earlier that you could go to a %helper% for help storing %subject% that could be dangerous for your child.

Who is someone you trust to help you with safe storage?

Select All That Apply

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Your Selected Firearm Storage Options

Family, Friend, Neighbor
(FREE)
  • Quick and easy to get the firearm out of the house
  • Firearm is stored with a person you trust
  • Some people are not allowed to possess firearms
  • States have different laws about person-to-person transfers
  • Consider: Lock up or limit access to dangerous items while you arrange to store the items with someone safe
Gun Shop or Dealer
($)
  • They are a trusted part of your firearms community
  • Some dealers may provide pick-up services
  • Some shops will not store firearms
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)
Shooting Range
($$)
  • They are a trusted part of your firearms community
  • A range may provide private lockers
  • Some ranges will not store firearms
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)
Commercial Storage Facility
($$$)
  • Does not require a background check
  • Renter decides who should hold the key (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)
  • Consider: Some facilities will not store firearms
Pawn Shop
($$$)
  • Available when other options are not
  • Short term commitment
  • Firearms may be sold
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)
Police/Sheriff (Please call ahead to understand storage options)
(FREE)
  • May know of storage options in the community
  • Some stations may store firearms themselves
  • Consider: Stations that store firearms will run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)
Other Out of Home
($)
or
(FREE)
  • You may know of other safe storage options. There may be community groups that are able to store firearms.
Gun Safe
($$$)
  • Can store guns of many sizes
  • Strongest form of security, difficult to steal
  • Large, needs to fit in home
  • Cannot change combination on dial safes
  • Consider: Can add other safety measures (like a locking device or disassembly) (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)
Lock Box
($)
  • Can transfer key to a trusted person
  • Can be stolen or taken apart
  • Consider: Too small for some firearms
Locking Devices (like trigger or cable locks)
($)
or
(FREE)
  • Easy to use with most firearms
  • Some firearms must be unloaded to use
  • Some may be easy to break
  • Consider: Key needs to be kept separate (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)
Disassemble
(FREE)
  • Works with all types of firearms
  • Can give most parts to other people without background checks
  • Consider: Some firearms cannot be easily disassembled
Other In Home
($)
or
(FREE)
  • You may know of other options based on your job, like service or police jobs.
Next Step

There are two types of storage: at home or temporarily away from home.

Storage is very important when there are signs that your child may be at risk. You may want to change your storage plan when risk is lower.

The safest storage type is the one that will make a firearm hardest to reach during a difficult moment.

How open are you to storing your firearms temporarily with someone else, away from your home?

NOT AT ALL VERY
Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

You may still be unsure about which storage option is best for you. You can read parent stories below.

See Their Stories

My child respects our guns and knows how to be safe with them.

David’s Story: “I have taken my son hunting with me every fall since he was young. However, he recently came to me and said that he was thinking of killing himself. Together, we decided to lock up the hunting rifles and my handgun, which I keep to protect the house. Even though he knows how to use a firearm safely, we did not want him to be able to get one when he was upset. I want my child to use guns, but right now locking them up keeps him from making a choice to use them to die.”

Points to Consider:

  • Your child may respect guns and know how to use them safely. However, this knowledge does not stop the choice to use a gun when your child is in crisis.

My child does not really want to die. They are just saying that.

Alessandra’s Story: “When my son came to me and told me that he had thoughts about wanting to die, I thought it was just a reaction to my divorce. I tried to be really understanding, but I didn’t take it seriously. However, a month later I found him in his bedroom with my handgun pressed against his head. Thank goodness I don’t store the bullets in the same place as my handgun and it turns out the gun was unloaded. I am so glad he is ok and didn’t know where to find the ammunition. I hate to think what would have happened if he had been able to load the gun. I wish I had taken his comments more seriously. Now, everything is locked up in the home, or kept in my locker at work. He is never alone, and he is in therapy that seems to really be helping.”

Points to Consider:

  • Any statement about wanting to die should be taken seriously
  • Taking an extra step in safe storage such as keeping a gun and bullets in different places can sometimes mean the difference between life and death

Submit
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Let’s Talk About Other Dangers

Other household dangers can be hard to lock up and store during tough times, but it’s still a good idea to talk about them. Dangers that you should be aware of are shown below:

Please click on or hover your cursor over an item to learn more.

Firearms
The most lethal suicide attempt method
Community Hazards
Jumping from high places, drowning, running into traffic, or jumping in front of a moving train can lead to death
Ropes, Cords & Plastic Bags
Present in most homes, can be dangerous and deadly
Alcohol, Poisons, & Chemicals
Present in most homes, can be dangerous and deadly
Knives & Sharp Objects
Present in most homes, can be dangerous and deadly
Medicines
Present in most homes, can be dangerous and deadly

You may find these things around the house or use them daily. Others are more difficult to keep track of.

Here are some general tips and strategies for how to protect your child when you are concerned about safety:

Limit access when possible. It can be hard to remove all dangerous items, but small steps can make a difference.
Have a list of emergency response numbers and lifelines that you can turn to for help. Also, look up other resources like suicide hotlines and poison control.
Having a supportive and responsible adult with your child is another way to protect your child.
Next Step

Name someone you can ask for help today.

Enter the name of someone who can help you below:

This is someone who can help you with safe storage.

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

My Storage Plan

You said the following are in the home: 
Alcohol, Poisons, & Chemicals
Community Hazards
Firearms
Ropes, Cords & Plastic Bags
Medicines

Your Selected Firearm Storage Options

Family, Friend, Neighbor
(FREE)

  • Quick and easy to get the firearm out of the house
  • Firearm is stored with a person you trust
  • Some people are not allowed to possess firearms
  • States have different laws about person-to-person transfers
  • Consider: Lock up or limit access to dangerous items while you arrange to store the items with someone safe

Gun Shop or Dealer
($)

  • They are a trusted part of your firearms community
  • Some dealers may provide pick-up services
  • Some shops will not store firearms
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Shooting Range
($$)

  • They are a trusted part of your firearms community
  • A range may provide private lockers
  • Some ranges will not store firearms
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Commercial Storage Facility
($$$)

  • Does not require a background check
  • Renter decides who should hold the key (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)
  • Consider: Some facilities will not store firearms

Pawn Shop
($$$)

  • Available when other options are not
  • Short term commitment
  • Firearms may be sold
  • Consider: May run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Police/Sheriff (Please call ahead to understand storage options)
(FREE)

  • May know of storage options in the community
  • Some stations may store firearms themselves
  • Consider: Stations that store firearms will run a background check (Note: there are out of home options without a background check)

Other Out of Home
($)
or
(FREE)

  • You may know of other safe storage options. There may be community groups that are able to store firearms.

Gun Safe
($$$)

  • Can store guns of many sizes
  • Strongest form of security, difficult to steal
  • Large, needs to fit in home
  • Cannot change combination on dial safes
  • Consider: Can add other safety measures (like a locking device or disassembly) (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)

Lock Box
($)

  • Can transfer key to a trusted person
  • Can be stolen or taken apart
  • Consider: Too small for some firearms

Locking Devices (like trigger or cable locks)
($)
or
(FREE)

  • Easy to use with most firearms
  • Some firearms must be unloaded to use
  • Some may be easy to break
  • Consider: Key needs to be kept separate (**Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide**)

Disassemble
(FREE)

  • Works with all types of firearms
  • Can give most parts to other people without background checks
  • Consider: Some firearms cannot be easily disassembled

Other In Home
($)
or
(FREE)

  • You may know of other options based on your job, like service or police jobs.

Review and Edit All Firearm Storage Options

Your Selected Medicines Storage Options

Family, Friend, Neighbor
(FREE)

  • Quick and easy to get the dangerous item out of the house
  • Item is stored with a person you trust
  • Do not have to re-buy item when it is safe
  • Can make it challenging if you need to use item
  • Consider: Lock up or limit access to dangerous items while you arrange to store the items with someone safe

Locked Up at Home
($)

  • Can leave out a small amount of daily medicines or for emergencies
  • Best option for medicines that need to be used daily
  • May need to purchase a new lock or box, so costs may vary
  • Can be purchased in most drugstores, or online
  • Item can still be accessible to you
  • Can be at home or away from home
  • Can be stolen or taken apart
  • Consider: Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide

Disposal (Look online for safe options)
(FREE)

  • Can be done quickly and easily in many cases
  • Some cities have community drug take-back programs
  • Many prescriptions and medicines cannot be flushed down a toilet or drain
  • Will need to buy new items when risk period is over
  • Consider: Lock up any dangerous items while you decide how to dispose of items

Other
($)
or
(FREE)

  • You may know of other options based on your job (such as a place to store items). There may be community groups that are able to store, donate, or dispose of items.

Review and Edit All Medicines Storage Options

Other Dangers

Alcohol, Poisons, & Chemicals
Alcohol, Poisons, & Chemicals
Ropes, Cords & Plastic Bags
Ropes, Cords & Plastic Bags
Knives & Sharp Objects
Knives & Sharp Objects
Community Hazards
Community Hazards
Remember there are 3 approaches to keep your child safe:
Remove potentially dangerous items from the home
Lock dangerous items up and limit access
Watch your children to protect them from danger

%helper% may be able to help you with storing items that could be dangerous. There may be times when you are concerned about your child’s safety and it is not possible to remove or store potentially dangerous items. At those times, it is important for someone to be there to supervise and support your child in staying safe.

Working through this is hard. The work you did today makes a difference.
You know your home and your child best. Use this new information to make your home as safe as possible and protect your child.

Finish & Print
Common Concerns and Frequently Asked Questions

Click to learn more about common questions and concerns

If you or someone you know is in crisis or thinking of suicide:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-8255 (Veterans PRESS 1)

Trans Lifeline:
877-565-8860

TTY users:
1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)

Crisis Text Line:
Text HOME to 741741

These resources are free and available at all times.

Clear answers and Start Over

You don’t have to do this alone.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust help make phone calls, hold onto potentially dangerous objects, take them to a storage facility, or help you store them either at home or elsewhere.

You said earlier that you could go to a %helper% for help storing %subject% that could be dangerous for your child.

Who is someone you trust to help you with safe storage?

Select All That Apply

Next Step
These answers are only for you. We’re not storing your information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Safe firearm storage is recommended by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Q: Why is safe storage so important during crisis?

Storing dangerous items securely when someone is in crisis helps keep them safe. It is like holding on to a friend’s car keys while they are drinking.

Q: Are there other things I should do to make my home safe?

Do a safety check of your home. Lock up or get rid of medicines and other unsafe items. If you need to keep some medicine available, ask your doctor or a pharmacist for ways to store it safely.

Q: My firearms and medicines are already locked up at home. Do I need to make changes if my child is at risk, not me?

Sadly, 85% of youths under 18 who died by firearm suicide used a family member’s firearm. Medicines are commonly found around the house. They can be helpful but also deadly when used incorrectly. Your storage methods may be secure generally, but by taking extra steps you can help keep your child safer during this difficult time. Children are often more aware than we know and may know where and how items are locked up. Check to make sure there are not any unlocked or loaded firearms in your home, any loose medicine, alcohol, poisons, or other things that could be dangerous. Change codes and make sure keys to storage devices are secure. You can never be too careful when securing these items in your home.

Q: Where can I get home storage devices (trigger & cable locks, lock boxes, gun safes)?

You can find many of these items at gun shops, hardware stores, or sporting goods stores including Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, and Walmart. You can also buy them online. Your local police, sheriff, or VA hospital may also give out locks for free.

Q: Who am I allowed to give my firearms to temporarily?

The person you choose must also be allowed to have a firearm. In the US, a person cannot have a firearm if they have been found guilty of a felony, domestic violence, or have a restraining or protection order against them. Check your local laws for any other restrictions. The person you choose should also store the firearms safely.

Q: How do I find out my local laws?

The NRA has a website about state gun laws: www.nraila.org/gun-laws/. Friends or family who own firearms may also know about laws. A local gun shop, police department, or sheriff can help with the local laws in your state.

Q: How do I know when it is safe for my child to have access to these items again?

That’s hard to know. Every person is different. It is important to protect yourself and your loved ones. Remember, storing these dangerous items for now is a choice. If you are unsure, your doctor may be able to help you decide.

Q: If I store my guns away from home, will I get them back?

How and when you can get your firearms back will depend on the storage option that you choose. Laws and businesses can vary state-to-state. Some may require a background check, others may require you to be there during specific hours. Before you store your firearms somewhere or with someone, you should ask what will need to be done to pick the firearms back up. Have someone you trust help you call ahead and ask questions.

Q: Where can I get information about getting rid of medicines?

Call your local trash service and pharmacy to see if there is a take-back program. Also, your doctor may have more information.
There are also National Prescription Drug Take Back Days: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/.
You can also mix medicines with something unpleasant like cat litter or used coffee grounds. Then throw the mix away in a sealed container.

Q: If I decide to store my firearm out of my home, what do I say to someone at a gun shop, police station, or other storage facility?

First, have someone you trust help you. Have this person take the guns to the storage location with you. But first, call ahead and ask about firearm storage and any costs. This is a good time to ask about how to get them back. You do not need to tell them why you need firearm storage. When you arrive, leave any firearms in the car until you have gone inside. Tell them you called ahead about temporary firearm storage.

Q: How do I talk to my child about storage?

These conversations are hard. But these conversations can save a life. First, let your child know you care. Tell them why you are concerned about storage of potentially dangerous items. Your child may agree with you. If they do not, explain you would still like to talk about it. Be supportive, calm, and open to listening. Share that you want to help them get through this difficult time. Describe the plan for storage. Let your child know you are here to help and listen to their concerns. Let them know they are not alone and this is just until they feel better.

Q: What if I'm worried my child is going to hurt themselves?

If you’re worried about your child, it is ok to ask them if they are having thoughts of suicide. Asking will not put the thought in their mind. If at any time you feel like your child is unsafe, take it seriously. Some warning signs are talking about harming or killing themselves, talking about wanting to die, or talking about plans to kill themselves. Follow the suggestions above about telling them that you care and want to help. You can call the suicide prevention lifeline with them (1-800-273-8255), or you can call yourself as a concerned parent to get advice and local resources. Trained counselors are available at all times, and speak both English and Spanish.

Q: I am not sure about where to start.

Linda’s Story: “My 15-year-old son Jim had been having a tough time at school. His grades had slipped and he stopped spending time with his friends after some upsetting social media posts about him. I got a call from the school social worker who shared that Jim had told his teacher that he wants to hurt himself. My husband and I talked. We were worried about him. To be on the safe side, we locked up all of the medicines and poisons. We looked online and found a local gun club that would store our handguns and rifles temporarily. It was a relief to have this done. We felt safer. Jim had a history of being impulsive and doing dangerous things at times. We also looked into what long-term storage option would be best for our family while Jim’s still living with us. To make the house as safe as we could, we also went through the house and got rid of unnecessary poisons, plastic bags, and ropes and belts, and locked up the bleach, garden pesticides, and some ropes we needed to keep.”

Points to Consider:

  • Take your time going through your home and considering other places your child goes. Look for things that could be dangerous. Find a way to store items that could be dangerous and keep your child safe.

Common Concerns for Firearms

My child respects our guns and knows how to be safe with them.

David’s Story: “I have taken my son hunting with me every fall since he was young. However, he recently came to me and said that he was thinking of killing himself. Together, we decided to lock up the hunting rifles and my handgun, which I keep to protect the house. Even though he knows how to use a firearm safely, we did not want him to be able to get one when he was upset. I want my child to use guns, but right now locking them up keeps him from making a choice to use them to die.”

Points to Consider:

  • Your child may respect guns and know how to use them safely. However, this knowledge does not stop the choice to use a gun when your child is in crisis.

My child does not really want to die. They are just saying that.

Alessandra’s Story: “When my son came to me and told me that he had thoughts about wanting to die, I thought it was just a reaction to my divorce. I tried to be really understanding, but I didn’t take it seriously. However, a month later I found him in his bedroom with my handgun pressed against his head. Thank goodness I don’t store the bullets in the same place as my handgun and it turns out the gun was unloaded. I am so glad he is ok and didn’t know where to find the ammunition. I hate to think what would have happened if he had been able to load the gun. I wish I had taken his comments more seriously. Now, everything is locked up in the home, or kept in my locker at work. He is never alone, and he is in therapy that seems to really be helping.”

Points to Consider:

  • Any statement about wanting to die should be taken seriously
  • Taking an extra step in safe storage such as keeping a gun and bullets in different places can sometimes mean the difference between life and death

Common Concerns for Medicines

My child does not really want to die. They are just saying that.

Mariela’s Story: “When my daughter came to me and told me that she had taken some pills because she wanted to die I thought it was just a reaction to my divorce. The doctor said she had not taken enough to hurt herself, so I thought it was probably just a cry for attention. I tried to be really understanding, but I didn’t take it seriously. However, a month later I found her after she swallowed a full bottle of Aspirin, and she had to be rushed to the hospital. I am so glad she is ok. I hate to think what would have happened if I came home late that day. The doctors later told me that with each attempt, the person is more likely to die. I wish I had taken the first attempt more seriously. Now, everything is locked up in the home, or kept in my locker at work. She is never alone and she is in therapy that seems to really be helping.”

Points to Consider:

  • Even suicide attempts that do not appear dangerous to you should be taken seriously as attempts to die
  • With each suicide attempt that is made, the chances of death can increase

I can’t lock up my medicine. I need to take it every day!

Joe’s Story: “I have diabetes, and I need to take insulin every day. I became worried when I saw that my child seemed to have changed, was down and more angry, and didn’t want to do anything. I chose to make our home safer while she starts therapy. After talking to my doctor, we determined it was safe to keep one day’s dose of insulin easily available, and locked the rest of my medicines up using a lock-box. Every morning, I take out the insulin I will need, and then I keep the key with me all day.”

Points to Consider:

  • You can have one day’s dose of medicine on hand and store the rest in a lock-box
  • Every night you can take out the next day’s dose

Why should I lock up my medicine? He can just walk to the drugstore to buy more if he really wanted!

Teen Story: “My parents decided to follow my counselor’s suggestion that they should lock things up when I was having a hard time. One day after some kids were being jerks at school, I was feeling really down. I wanted to go to sleep forever, but when I was looking for my mom’s sleeping pills I could not find them. When I was thinking about what to do next, my mom came home and noticed I was upset. She helped me calm down and took me to a doctor. I am alive, and feel better now, and am really glad my mom was there and had locked everything away. ”

Points to Consider:

  • Locking up easily accessible medicine buys time for emotional distress to decrease or for a support figure to intervene
  • Going to the drugstore takes time and effort that a teen may not be willing to spend during a crisis

There is no safe option to get rid of medicine in my community.

Nicole’s Story: I was really worried about my child when they said they wanted to hurt themselves. I gave away all of my alcohol and cleaning supplies, and stored many dangerous items outside of the home with only a few items in a lock-box. However, I was not sure about what to do with my over-the-counter medicines and gardening pesticides, since there is no program that will recycle the medicine in my town. So, I removed all of the pills from their containers and mixed them with our cat’s used kitty litter. I then put it in an old coffee can to stop it from leaking out, and threw it away. I mixed the pills with used kitty litter to keep pets and my child away from it in the trash. I donated the pesticides to a nearby gardening club.”

Points to Consider:

  • There are other options to dispose of medicines such as mixing them with kitty litter and throwing them away
  • Community organizations such as gardening clubs may accept pesticides

Print

Explore and pick options for storage.

There are many ways to protect your child and make your home safer. There are also challenges that can make it hard.

Explore the options below and select those that might be an option for your family.

Family, Friend, Neighbor
(FREE)

  • Quick and easy to get the dangerous item out of the house
  • Item is stored with a person you trust
  • Do not have to re-buy item when it is safe
  • Can make it challenging if you need to use item
  • Consider: Lock up or limit access to dangerous items while you arrange to store the items with someone safe

Locked Up at Home
($)

  • Can leave out a small amount of daily medicines or for emergencies
  • Best option for medicines that need to be used daily
  • May need to purchase a new lock or box, so costs may vary
  • Can be purchased in most drugstores, or online
  • Item can still be accessible to you
  • Can be at home or away from home
  • Can be stolen or taken apart
  • Consider: Give the key to a trusted person who will keep it safely away from the person at risk of suicide

Disposal (Look online for safe options)
(FREE)

  • Can be done quickly and easily in many cases
  • Some cities have community drug take-back programs
  • Many prescriptions and medicines cannot be flushed down a toilet or drain
  • Will need to buy new items when risk period is over
  • Consider: Lock up any dangerous items while you decide how to dispose of items

Other
($)
or
(FREE)

  • You may know of other options based on your job (such as a place to store items). There may be community groups that are able to store, donate, or dispose of items.

You may still be unsure about which storage option is best for you. You can read parent stories below.

See Their Stories

My child does not really want to die. They are just saying that.

Mariela’s Story: “When my daughter came to me and told me that she had taken some pills because she wanted to die I thought it was just a reaction to my divorce. The doctor said she had not taken enough to hurt herself, so I thought it was probably just a cry for attention. I tried to be really understanding, but I didn’t take it seriously. However, a month later I found her after she swallowed a full bottle of Aspirin, and she had to be rushed to the hospital. I am so glad she is ok. I hate to think what would have happened if I came home late that day. The doctors later told me that with each attempt, the person is more likely to die. I wish I had taken the first attempt more seriously. Now, everything is locked up in the home, or kept in my locker at work. She is never alone and she is in therapy that seems to really be helping.”

Points to Consider:

  • Even suicide attempts that do not appear dangerous to you should be taken seriously as attempts to die
  • With each suicide attempt that is made, the chances of death can increase

I can’t lock up my medicine. I need to take it every day!

Joe’s Story: “I have diabetes, and I need to take insulin every day. I became worried when I saw that my child seemed to have changed, was down and more angry, and didn’t want to do anything. I chose to make our home safer while she starts therapy. After talking to my doctor, we determined it was safe to keep one day’s dose of insulin easily available, and locked the rest of my medicines up using a lock-box. Every morning, I take out the insulin I will need, and then I keep the key with me all day.”

Points to Consider:

  • You can have one day’s dose of medicine on hand and store the rest in a lock-box
  • Every night you can take out the next day’s dose

Why should I lock up my medicine? He can just walk to the drugstore to buy more if he really wanted!

Teen Story: “My parents decided to follow my counselor’s suggestion that they should lock things up when I was having a hard time. One day after some kids were being jerks at school, I was feeling really down. I wanted to go to sleep forever, but when I was looking for my mom’s sleeping pills I could not find them. When I was thinking about what to do next, my mom came home and noticed I was upset. She helped me calm down and took me to a doctor. I am alive, and feel better now, and am really glad my mom was there and had locked everything away. ”

Points to Consider:

  • Locking up easily accessible medicine buys time for emotional distress to decrease or for a support figure to intervene
  • Going to the drugstore takes time and effort that a teen may not be willing to spend during a crisis

There is no safe option to get rid of medicine in my community.

Nicole’s Story: I was really worried about my child when they said they wanted to hurt themselves. I gave away all of my alcohol and cleaning supplies, and stored many dangerous items outside of the home with only a few items in a lock-box. However, I was not sure about what to do with my over-the-counter medicines and gardening pesticides, since there is no program that will recycle the medicine in my town. So, I removed all of the pills from their containers and mixed them with our cat’s used kitty litter. I then put it in an old coffee can to stop it from leaking out, and threw it away. I mixed the pills with used kitty litter to keep pets and my child away from it in the trash. I donated the pesticides to a nearby gardening club.”

Points to Consider:

  • There are other options to dispose of medicines such as mixing them with kitty litter and throwing them away
  • Community organizations such as gardening clubs may accept pesticides

Next Step

Let’s Talk about Medicines

Medicines are a part of daily life. They can be prescription or found over-the-counter or for your pets. During tough times, it’s important to think about how to store these items safely.

Are there any medicines, chemicals, or poisons present in your own home?

SELECT ONE

Lock and Protect

Sometimes kids go through times when they feel stressed, angry, down, alone, or hopeless. When kids are very upset, they are at greater risk for harming themselves or someone else.

You can protect your child during these times by being there and stopping them from getting guns, drugs, or other dangerous things that could lead to death. When your child was little you may have baby-proofed your home. A similar approach is needed when your child is under intense stress or distress.

This tool can help you make choices about how to protect your child.

Get Started