Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Suicide Prevention Fence for Seattle's Aurora Bridge

This article in the Seattle Times today. The governor's office, in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation, has released three potential designs for a fence to go along the Aurora Bridge. Excellent news, if as this recent NY Times article which I blogged about points out, restricting the means to suicide really does cut down on the number of suicides committed.

According to The Seattle Times, the Aurora Bridge has been home to 200 suicides since 1932. In the past decade alone, 40 people have attempted death by jumping from the bridge. Just last Monday, a man put his leg over the bridge and had to be talked down by police. The article claims the Aurora Bridge is second only to the Golden Gate Bridge in the number of suicides that happen on it. (Although, there would be quite a large gap between first and second place. It's said that a person jumps from the Golden Gate Bridge once every 15 days or so, and though an official tally is not known, because many jumps are not witnessed because they happen at night and there is also frequent fog around the Golden Gate Bridge, its total suicides may be around 1,200.)

The three designs for the Aurora Bridge fence must next go to a Landmark Preservation Board for approval because the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. I really hope they approve one of the designs because statistical indicators show this type of change helps save lives. Suicidal impulses are often momentary, and restricting the means can make people rethink their decision long enough to keep them alive. (If what I'm writing here is interesting to you, read Scott Anderson's stellar article.) And the battle often comes down to suicide-prevention advocates facing off against historic preservationist who aren't convinced fences on bridges will really deter people. That's why the Golden Gate Bridge still doesn't have a fence.

1 comment:

Jannah Delfin said...

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