One of the biggest concerns with bipolar disorder is the increased risk of suicide. Twenty percent of people with bipolar disorder will commit suicide at some point in their life. Another 50% of bipolar individuals will try at least once to kill themselves. Those are some scary statistics, but there's one thing you can do to reduce the odds that you or your loved one will take that drastic action.

Right now, you need to get every gun in your house and get rid of it. Believe me, guns and mental illness do not make a good or a safe combination.

I read a book on bipolar disorder by a man named Dimitri Mihalas and he talked about how during an episode he wanted to commit suicide. He looked through his entire house trying to find his gun, but it wasn't there. Later, he discovered that his wife had removed it from the house on his psychiatrist's recommendation. If she hadn't, he would probably be dead today.

You see, when people are in an episode they aren't thinking clearly. They make rash decisions and irrational choices that they normally wouldn't make. When a gun is readily available, they can make the decision to kill themselves and follow through with it before any one has a chance to intervene. Once they pull that trigger there's no going back.

You have no idea how many emails I have gotten from subscribers who tell me that someone they loved has committed suicide using a gun. Could those suicides have been prevented? Absolutely. If a gun hadn't been immediately available, the individual would have had to go through other measures to acquire one which would have taken more time so there would be a greater chance of intervention.

That's why I strongly recommend that you get rid of all the guns in your house right away. It's not enough to just lock them up, because they can find the key or break into the storage area. The guns need to be completely out of your home.

Below is an article I found from Handgun Free America. I want you to read it and think about how these facts are related to bipolar disorder.

Guns and Suicide

200 million guns are presently in the hands of Americans, which is more than twice the number held in 1969. Contrary to what most people think, the majority of all firearms-related fatalities in the United States are in fact due to suicide and not homicide. In 1998 alone, 30,575 Americans committed suicide. Much of this unbelievably high suicide rate is due to the overwhelming prevalence of firearms - and handguns in particular. Roughly 60% of all suicides are committed using a firearm, and roughly 40% of all suicides are committed using handguns With so many firearms available, handguns have clearly become the method of choice for suicide. Several studies have found that states with stricter gun control laws have lower total suicide rates, a fact that speaks heavily on the need to reduce the availability of handguns in the U.S.

Did You Know?

Firearm suicide attempts result in death in approximately 85% of cases.

Overall, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all Americans.

Suicide has had an enormous impact on American society. Every year, tens of thousands of individuals commit suicide using a gun. In 1998, for example, 17,424 people in America committed suicide using a gun That is almost 50 people every single day! In addition, the number of children who use firearms to commit suicide in America is alarming. In 1998, for example, 1,200 children between 10 and 19 years old committed suicide using a firearm - a whopping one suicide every seven hours. Despite the fact that most gun owners keep firearms in their home under the pretense of 'protection' and 'self-defense,' amazingly, only 2% of gun related deaths in the home are the result of a homeowner shooting an intruder, while 3% are accidental child shootings, 12% are the result of shootings by a family member or other intimate, and a staggering 83% are the result of a suicide. Suicide has also become an enormous problem among the elderly. According to the CDC, one older adult commits suicide every 90 minutes Of all firearm-related injuries involving people 65 or older, 78% are intentionally self-inflicted gunshot wounds White males aged 85 and older account for the highest rate of suicide by firearms(49/100,000).

Suicide is a very impulsive act, and the easier it is to do, the more it will be done. The easy access to firearms - and to handguns in particular - means that the rate of fatal suicide attempts in the United States is extremely high. In fact, it often takes less than 5 minutes from the time a person considers committing suicide until the time they attempt suicide. If they are able to access a gun within this 5 minute period, the chances of a fatal suicide attempt will be significantly higher. According to recent data, suicide attempts by drug overdose have a 20% chance of being fatal, while suicide attempts with a gun have a fatality rate of more than 90%.

While waiting periods for firearm purchases have reduced the ease of obtaining a weapon for the purposes of committing suicide, these laws cannot do anything to prevent people who already have access to firearms from committing suicide. In roughly 90% of cases of suicide involving a firearm, the firearm used was one that was already owned or available to the individual. Only 10% of all firearms used in suicides were purchased specifically for the purpose of committing suicide.

In fact, simply having access to a firearm increases your chances of committing suicide. A person who lives in a home with a gun is five times more likely to commit suicide than a person who lives in a home without a gun.

What Can We Do?

If we are going to successfully decrease the rate of suicide in the United States, one of the most effective steps we can take is to decrease the overall access to firearms by prohibiting private ownership of handguns. Copyright 2004, Handgun-Free America, Inc. http://www.handgunfree.org/