For decades, mental health advocates in the community have been calling for one of the most popular and iconic suicide sites in the world to erect a suicide barrier. We’ve been talking about it for nearly a decade here on this blog and noted 6 years ago that a suicide net for the Golden Gate Bridge was approved.
The Golden Gate Bridge is the only iconic structure in the world that lacks a suicide barrier. Every other country and monument has recognized the need — and effectiveness — of such barriers. Research has generally shown they work to reduce suicides once erected. Although first approved in 2008, it’s taken six more years before bridge officials approved funding for the project:
The 19-member board unanimously voted to approve funding for the project Friday morning.
In an emotion-filled board meeting, the directors approved spending $20 million for the $76 million project. The rest of the money will be covered by the state and federal government. […]
The motion for Friday’s vote came from board member and former bridge district director John Moylan, whose grandson, Sean Moylan, jumped off the bridge to his death earlier this month.
Since it opened in 1937, more than 1,400 people have jumped to their deaths, climbing over a short, chest-height bridge railing. While bridge officials have cameras on the bridge and rush to send personnel to stop many such attempts, a record 46 people jumped to their deaths last year alone.
The cable-based netting will slip under the bridge and not be readily visible while standing on the bridge or viewing it from a distance. If a person jumps over the railing, the netting will prevent them going more than a few feet. This gives bridge personnel time to intercept the would-be jumper, and get them needed mental health treatment. Most jumpers seeing the net will simply opt not to even try to circumvent it.
Research has generally shown that suicide barriers on bridges are an effective deterrent and usually stop nearly all suicides. People generally don’t seek out a different suicide method if their heart was set on jumping from a bridge. At the very least, it gives the person time to reconsider their decision while seeking out another method.
Sadly, it’ll be another 4 years — 2018 — before the net’s installation will be complete. In that time, we’ll likely see the loss of a couple hundred more people.
But, I suppose, better late than never.
Read the full article: Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Approved
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jul 2014
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2014). Finally — Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Approved. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 18, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/07/01/finally-golden-gate-bridge-suicide-barrier-approved/