A movie about suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco called “The Bridge” is promoting discussion of the issue of suicide and, to some degree, landmarks which are suicide hotspots and whether anything can be done to decrease suicides at those landmarks.

Consider, for example, the Aurora Bridge in Seattle. This place has been a suicide hotspot for years, but recently the city has been having a very public discussion about what can be done to change the situation. In Minneapolis, the Washington Avenue Bridge came up for discussion in the campus newspaper after two individuals jumped to their death in the same year, joining similar incidents at the bridge. (This blogger was the person who wrote the initial opinion piece, entitled “Don’t jump, don’t jump, don’t jump,” something which should be revealed in the spirit of full disclosure) And in China, there is discussion of installing nets under something called the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge.

Of course, some cities continue to act like provincial rubes and don’t consider taking prudent anti-suicide measures. One of those places is Council Bluffs, Iowa. Asked recently about the possibility of suicides at a bridge, the mayor said something about how “hopefully that won’t happen.”

Suicide bridges are coming on the public radar, and hopefully the movie and discussion about problems with local bridges will spur action around the country and, indeed, the world. One study of individuals prevented from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge showed only 6% went on to commit suicide. So much for the ignorant and simplistic “They’re just going to find another way to kill themselves” argument.  
 

 

 

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