Suicide bridge

This article is about bridges used to commit suicide. For Suicide Bridge in London, see A1 road (London)

A suicide bridge is a bridge used frequently to commit suicide, most typically by jumping off and into the water below (because a fall from that height into the water is almost inevitably fatal).

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has had more suicides than any other in the world, the number currently being over 1,200. In 2005, documentary filmmaker Eric Steel set off controversy by revealing that he had tricked the bridge committee into allowing him to film the Golden Gate for months, and had captured 23 suicides on film for his documentary The Bridge. In March 2005, San Francisco supervisor Tom Ammiano proposed funding a study on erecting a suicide barrier on the bridge.

In Seattle, Washington, more than 230 people have committed suicide from the Aurora Bridge, making it the second deadliest suicide bridge in the United States. In the last decade, nearly 50 people jumped to their deaths, nine in 2006. Seattle FRIENDS, a nonprofit group dedicated to eliminating suicides from the bridge, is petitioning city and state officials to install a suicide barrier on the bridge.

The San Diego-Coronado Bridge is the third deadliest suicide bridge in the U.S., followed by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida.

To reach such locations, those with the intention to commit suicide must often walk long distances to reach the point where they finally decide to jump. For example, some jumpers have traveled over the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge by automobile to reach the Golden Gate.

Suicide prevention advocates believe that suicide by bridge is more likely to be impulsive than other means, and that barriers can have a significant effect on reducing the incidence of suicides by bridge. One study showed that installing barriers on the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, D.C. – which has a high incidence of suicide – did not cause an increase of suicides at the nearby Taft Bridge. Families of victims and groups that help the mentally ill have lobbied governments to erect similar barriers. One such barriers is the Luminous Veil on the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, once considered the world's second most deadly bridge with over 400 jumps on record. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, The West Gate Bridge, the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, and the Arroyo Seco Bridge in Pasadena, California have also seen barriers erected.

Special telephones with connections to crisis hotlines are sometimes installed on bridges.

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