Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) is offering free gunlocks and other resources to community members at Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s vaccine clinic in Lenexa and health clinic in Olathe. The gunlocks are available to promote firearm safety and education and are free for any community member
“Whenever we talk about suicide prevention, we talk about meeting people where they’re at,” said Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition Chair Sondra Wallace. “This is exactly why we are offering gunlocks at vaccine clinics; it’s the best way for us to reach diverse community members with helpful resources.”
The gunlocks were provided by the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition, an initiative of JCMHC, through a grant from Kansas Department of Health and Environment to reduce suicides. Approximately 50% of suicide deaths are by firearm. Properly securing guns greatly reduces this risk. Throughout its history, the coalition has distributed more than 10,000 gunlocks in Johnson County.
“You can’t separate physical health from mental health or mental health from physical health,” said JCMHC Director Tim DeWeese. “People are getting the vaccine to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community. Our hope is that people will take home a gunlock to do the same.”
In addition to the gunlocks, JCMHC is also offering hand sanitizers with information about the 24/7 Crisis Line, through a generous donation made by AT&T’s Believe Kansas CitySM. AT&T donated over $46,000 worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a variety of organizations in the Kansas City for distribution throughout the community. JCMHC has been pairing the hand sanitizer with messages of hope and mental health resources and distributing them to food pantries, long-term care facilities and other community organizations in addition to JCDHE vaccine clinic.