The Ad Council has partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to launch a campaign targeting gun violence and firearm suicide.

The Pause to Heal campaign aims to educate people about Illinois’ firearm restraining orders (FRO), which are civil orders that remove guns from people who are deemed dangerous or who are experiencing a temporary crisis.

Known in other states as “red flag laws” or “extreme risk protection orders,” FROs have been linked to a decrease in firearm suicide.

However, the public’s awareness about FROs remains low, with only about 10% of people in Illinois familiar with how to use them, according to the Ad Council Research Institute and Joyce Foundation.

The campaign, which links to a dedicated page on the IDPH website, will also roll out on radio, digital, print and outdoor channels.

“When people are in crisis, they deserve an opportunity to ‘pause to heal’ and access mental health resources,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement. “With this new awareness campaign, we will help Illinoisans connect with the resources they need to keep them and their loved ones safe.”

Some 48,000 Americans die from gun violence every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The campaign highlights that statistic and underscores the need for public health interventions to address gun violence.

“The Ad Council is taking a holistic approach to addressing the gun violence crisis facing this country,” said Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development officer at Ad Council, in a statement. “Educating the public about extreme risk laws is a key step to making our homes, communities and our nation safer.”

The Pause to Heal campaign, which begins in Illinois, will eventually expand to the 20 other states and Washington, D.C. that have red flag laws in place.

The advertising effort also builds upon the Ad Council’s recent efforts to reframe gun violence as a public health crisis. 

In February, the organization launched an initiative with the National Health Care CEO Council on Gun Violence Prevention and Safety, which pledged $10 million to raise awareness about the issue.

Last year, the Ad Council launched its multimedia Safe Stories PSA campaign in conjunction with gun violence nonprofit Brady and creative agency Dentsu to promote gun suicide prevention.

This was part of the larger End Family Fire effort to involve gun owners in conversations and policies aimed at reducing the number of preventable firearm deaths.

Also last year, Brady teamed with BCW North America for an ad spot titled A Story of Survival, which was part of a campaign aimed at reducing gun violence. 

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a trained listener, call 988. Visit for crisis chat services or for more information.