Mental Health America and Walk the Talk America Join Forces to Combat Suicide

Mental Health America partners with Walk The Talk America

Alexandria, VA  ( Health America (MHA) and Walk the Talk America (WTTA) announced today a partnership to prevent suicide death by firearms by creating materials and conducting outreach to gun ranges across the country in an effort to share information about depression and warning signs that someone may be considering suicide. Their formal partnership officially begins today at the Shot Show in Las Vegas, where they will be openly engaging with firearm industry representatives, gun owners, gun sellers, and those that use firearms professionally.

MHA is dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Much of MHA’s work is guided by the Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points. Like other conditions, MHA believes in the need to address symptoms early, identify the underlying issues, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. MHA is teaming up with WTTA, a new organization founded by several in the firearm industry whose mission is to reduce incidents of suicide by firearms; gun negligence through education and proactive programs that identify risks; raise awareness; and provide solutions to those who choose to own firearms responsibly and the public at large.

While the large majority of people with a mental illness are never violent, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and 2nd among adolescents and young adults aged 10 to 24 years old. Each year, more than 40,000 people die by suicide in the United States. On average, that’s 123 Americans each day. Many, many more people attempt suicide than complete it. In fact, 90 percent of those that attempt to kill themselves don’t die, and they don’t go on to die later by suicide. But means do matter. If someone is considering suicide, having access to a firearm greatly increases the chances of dying. Eighty-five percent of people who attempt suicide with a firearm do die.

“We know we can’t prevent every suicide attempt, but it’s important that we put politics aside to provide information and resources to those who need it – wherever they are,” said Debbie Plotnick, MHA Vice President of Mental Health and Systems Advocacy. “This campaign is not about taking individuals’ guns away, and it is not a campaign that is saying guns are good or bad. It’s about knowing the signs of depression and suicide – and working together in an effort to save lives. We want to let people know that if they or someone they love is suicidal, it’s OK to ask for help.”

MHA and WTTA will work together in the following ways:

  • MHA and WTTA will conduct outreach to gun sellers and ranges throughout the country in an effort to provide suicide prevention resources to their employees and customers; and will create and distribute materials about the warning signs of depression and how to identify if someone is having suicidal thoughts.
  • MHA’s anonymous online screening program –– is now also available through the WTTA website:
  • MHA and WTTA will develop a certification program that will allow sellers and gun range owners and staff to have knowledge about mental health conditions and warning signs of suicide – and give them the tools to know what to do if they encounter someone who may be suicidal.

“Working with MHA is crucial to WTTA's success,” said Mike Sodini, founder of WTTA. “When we stand together, we are stronger. We are at epidemic levels of suicide in this country, and existing stigma and blame are getting in the way of real talk about depression, suicide and guns. It’s time to work together to find real solution to the problem of suicide.”

About Walk the Talk America

Walk The Talk America

Our mission is to fund research and development for outreach and promotion of mental health to reduce the misconceptions and prejudices that exist when it comes to mental illness and firearms. We believe we can be a catalyst for change by working with experts in the mental health industry.

About Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it, with recovery as the goal. Much of our current work is guided by the Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process.



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tomcatDon BaileyShotgun WillieDouglas Brattain Recent comment authors
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I read James Woods tweets from time to time and just recently a guy named Ray wrote into him and described how he had put a rope around his neck and then got rid of it just before he blacked out. He went on to say he was done with this life and was going to end it. James talked to him several times back and forth and finally convinced him to call the suicide hotline. A couple of days later Ray wrote to him and thanked him for his help. James was sincere about talking to this guy anytime… Read more »

Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie

How stupid is this- if a man/woman wants to commit suicide then what right do we have to stop them? They don’t want help they don’t want to suffer through life anymore- let them die. Yup sounds heartless but unhappy is unhappy and no one but the person who is ending his or her life needs to be involved. It has nothing to do with gun violence just someone using the tool to end suffering. If you don’t walk in their shoes then keep your mouth shut and opinion to yourself. Over reaching control freaks too many people on earth… Read more »

Don Bailey
Don Bailey

Hey Shotgun, you may have over simplified a very complex moral and ethical argument. Instant death decisions are not always necessary, but some quality of life circumstances should sometimes be considered. We have too many individuals who suffer different forms of sudden onset mental health illnesses that are treatable and can improve quality of life issues for them and their families. Suicides sometimes do solve a problem for the individual and their families, but most often, they do not. For the most part, suicides leave the survivors lost and emotionally maimed. It would be nice to exit this world on… Read more »

Douglas Brattain
Douglas Brattain

That is great stuff and MHA is doing some very good work! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) created a program a year ago in the AFSP “Talk Saves Lives” series designed to inform and recognize warning signs. The programs and information are free to those who want it and AFSP has trained individuals throughout the country that will present the information to willing participants. There is a lot of work being done among several entities to fight against suicide and it is great to see it as a priority in a… Read more »