Help us support Walk The Talk America in this time of need.
The root of anxiety is fear
At Walk The Talk America (WTTA), we have seen a massive increase in the number of people visiting our website for mental health screenings. In this time of uncertainty and fear, WTTA is grateful to be able to provide information and resources that can help.
With the amount of screenings way up - especially the anxiety screen in particular - so too is the level of severity, with almost 76% of people taking the anxiety screen scoring in the moderate to severe range.
Everyone is scared and they are dealing with that fear in many ways. One manifestaion of that fear has been a boom in firearms purchases.
As business booms, so do accidents
Nationwide in America people are rushing out to buy guns, often for the first time. While a gun can give a sense of security, please remember that having a gun does not magically make you or your family safe. In fact, without proper training and in-home safety precautions, having one around may actually make your family less safe.
Purchasing a firearm to quell anxiety and skipping over the critical elements of training and safety will increase the risk of something called a negligent discharge. This is when someone - often a young child or teenager - inappropriately accesses a firearm and discharges it improperly and/or unintentionally.
Furthermore, amidst the stress of the shelter-in-place orders, all of us at WTTA are concerned that the number of completed suicides will increase.
Breaking ground and saving lives
Walk The Talk America was founded to remove barriers between people that own firearms and those that need and provide mental health services and support. Over the last two years, we have worked hard to dispel the misbeliefs around mental health and firearm ownership.
We continue to help people talk with each other, not at each other or past each other. We advocate to end discrimination against people with past or present mental health needs who own or use firearms, including nurses, emergency room doctors, paramedics, and the police officers who use firearms in their jobs and may experience mental truama. Discrimination and stigma prevent these people from reaching out for help when they need it, resulting in even more completely preventable casualties.
Walk The Talk America also encourages mental health providers to speak with their gun-owning clients without judgment or suspicion. Getting people to take part in such difficult dialogues has not been easy, but it has been remarkably well received.
Walk the Talk America has a laser focus on the intersection of guns and mental health with the goal of reducing the number of firearms fatalities by suicide, as well as all other negative outcomes. We know that suicide is almost always an impulsive act, and that we can expect that the extreme duress associated with the COVID-19 crisis has already increased the number of people who have attempted - and died by - suicide, which already is the 2nd leading cause of death for people age 24 and younger.
Sobering statistics and what we can do
When it comes to suicide, means do matter. People may not realize that two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides. Having access to a firearm greatly increases the chances that a suicide attempt will end in death. Furthermore, 85 percent of people who attempt suicide with a firearm will complete the act. This is why the nationwide panic buying in response to the COVID-19 crisis is of great concern to WTTA. Social distancing will make it less likely that people will undertake proper firearm training, and people may not take the time to put in place what should be common-sense measures if they are new to firearms ownership.
COVID-19 has brought everyday life to a standstill and the economy has crashed, but that has not altered the massive increase in firearms purchases. How this affects us in 6, 12, or 18 months down the road can be a scary thought.
We could really use your help now more than ever. This cannot merely be an issue of smart policy and more legislation. This is about creating a society where the mental health and firearms communities have come together to develop innovative programs based on fact and understanding, rather than fear and mistrust. If we do this, then both mental illness and gun ownership will be destigmatized and all people will get help.
We need funding
By donating, you directly facilitate our programming to reach those in need and to let them know that they can seek help without consequence. Through your donation, the good work we have done to date will grow and expand. The healing will continue, families will remain intact, and lives will be saved.
Thank you for reading, please share this on your social media.