Children’s Mercy Research Study and LIFL
Dr. Shayla Sullivant, Child Adolescent Psychiatrist at Children’s Mercy, and recipient of the GAGV Advocate of the Year at the October 8 Community Forum, is conducting a research project to ascertain whether attitudes and behaviors change after hearing a presentation about the challenges of parenting a teen prior to a crisis. The presentation, titled “Prepped and Ready: Parenting into the Teen Years” is made to parents of adolescents, and emphasizes prevention. Attendees complete a survey of attitudes and behaviors before and then immediately after the presentation, with a follow-up email to evaluate whether actual changes were made. Subjects include screen time, opioid addiction, vaping, eating disorder prevention and safe gun storage.
Following are just a few of the many facts cited by Dr. Sullivant regarding firearm deaths:
- 82% of youth who use a firearm in suicide use a gun belonging to a family member. (National Violent Death Reporting System, 2016)
- Suicides with a firearm increased 60% among youth between 2007-2014.
- Only 18% of youth who died by suicide with a firearm were getting mental health treatment when they died (making risk assessment and prevention so important). (Fowler et al, 2017)
At the conclusion of Dr. Sullivant’s presentation, GAGV Lock It For Love volunteers, joined by a police officer from the local community, demonstrate and distribute locks, and share info about safe gun storage in the home. To date we have distributed 115 locks at three presentations: Rockhurst High School and St Therese Church in Kansas City, MO and Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park. Three more presentations are scheduled, with more to come. The goal is to enroll 500 parents in the study; so far there have been more than 100 parents at each event.
We have worked with officers from the Kansas City and Overland Park police departments and the upcoming events will include KCKS and Topeka departments, and the JOCO Sheriff Department.
It is an honor to take part in this research project and we look forward to learning from the results of the study.
The following article reinforces the importance of safely storing guns, and includes a quote from Denise Dowd, Children’s Mercy ER physician – and our first Advocate of the Year!
It includes this statistic: Almost half the gun injuries were from assaults, nearly 40 percent were unintentional and 2 percent were suicides. The statistics included only reflect ER visits; sadly, many of the kids who use a gun to take their lives die before they make it to the ER, so the percentage of suicides is actually higher.
Guns send over 8,000 US kids to ER each year, analysis says