WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, October 3, 2017 / -- Colleen Creighton, Executive Director of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) says, “It is important for the public to understand the role that suicide plays in mass shootings and other murder-suicides. Our nation’s best experts tell us that in the case of murder-suicides, suicide is the primary driving motive. A better understanding of the causes of suicide can lead to better prevention in the case of mass violence.”

Experts on the phenomenon of murder-suicide from AAS highlight the following points:
1. Research suggests that individuals who perpetrate murder-suicides are often primarily driven by thoughts of suicide.
2. Easy access to firearms may be the difference between having thoughts of murder-suicide versus acting on those thoughts.
3. The vast majority of people who are suicidal do not perpetrate mass murder. Murder-suicides, while alarming, are very rare events that deserve further study and consideration. Suicide, as well as mass shootings and cases of mass violence, are often the result of multiple factors and cannot be well explained by simplistic motivations. Attempting to attribute such motivations to a person’s act of mass murder can trivialize the tragedy and increase the discrimination surrounding mental health.

AAS Experts available to talk to the media:

Dr. Michael Anestis - (601) 818-2821;
Dr. Thomas Joiner - (850) 644-1454;
Dr. Craig Bryan - (801) 587-7978;

For the media: We urge members of the media to share suicide prevention resources in all of their reports. Responsible reporting on suicide and the inclusion of stories of hope and resilience can prevent more suicides. You can find more information on safe messaging around suicide here.


About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes suicide as a research discipline, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at

Colleen Creighton
American Association of Suicidology
email us here