Means Safety

Means Safety

What is Means Safety?

In a suicide crisis, the length of time someone seriously contemplates suicide tends to be short-lived. Reducing access by secure storage or “means safety” refers to making an effort to limit or eliminate the ability for a person at risk of suicide to access the means for their suicide plan. If suicidal behaviors are detected early and access to firearms, medications or other substances and objects can be restricted during the time of crisis, a life can be saved.

From 2013-2022, 49% of suicide deaths in South Dakota were firearm related with another 11% of suicide deaths from poisoning. From 2019 -2022, 76% of Veteran Suicides in South Dakota were the result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. (Source: SD DOH)

Secure storage practices play a vital role in preventing use of lethal means for suicides. Secure storage practices include having firearms unloaded, locked and in a separate place from ammunition.

Secure Storage Infographic

Video by: The Suicide Prevention Resource Center

What can reduce risk?

Learn to Safeguard Your Home

  • Safeguard Your Home brochure
  • Restricting access to pesticides, alcohol, and other substances
  • Safely storing over-the-counter and prescription medicines and properly disposing of unused medications
  • Change packaging of medications to bubble packs
  • Using a gun safety lock on all firearms
  • Paying attention to family member’s moods and behaviors

Tips for Range Owners

Tips Sheet

Tips for Firearm Retailers

Tips Sheet

Tips for Family and Friends

Tips Sheet

Safety Planning


Order Free Materials

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Available 24/7 via call, text and chat for any behavioral health need.  Press 1 for Veterans. For more information visit

Veterans Crisis Line

Free Trainings Available

Learn to Safeguard Your Home

Safeguard Your Home brochure

Means Safety resources are available through The Helpline Center. Order printed materials from the Helpline Center’s website such as the How to Safeguard Your Home brochure, Tips for Ranges, Tips for Firearm Retailers, and Tips for Family and Friends.  A one hour Means Safety Training is also available by The Helpline Center that provides specific and practical advice on how to dispose of, or lock up firearms and substances that may be used in a suicide attempt.