More on this petition:
Since its construction 75 years ago in 1937, the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco has carried a dark legacy of being the world's top site for suicides. Over 1,558 people have leaped to their deaths from the bridge, and many of their bodies are never found, to give their loved ones closure, the chance of giving them a proper funeral, or the chance to truly say goodbye. This past week I shared in their pain, as one of my friends and previous roommates took his life by jumping from the bridge. His body has not been found. Around 37 people a year, or 3 a month, have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge in recent years. Around 100 more are talked out of it by passers by or staff on the bridge, and all say later that they regret attempting suicide. I watched a video recently of a man who has dedicated his life to patrolling the bridge and has talked several people down from committing suicide. For decades, various groups & the local government have discussed and attempted to implement a suicide prevention barrier, a steel net which would catch people as they fell. The project is projected to cost $50 million, and suggestions of raising taxes and tolls on the bridge in the past have been unsuccessful in raising the funds. If a net was installed on the bridge, it could save the lives of 37 people a year and make sure they get the help they need. While some people say, with some validity, that people who are really determined will find a way to committ suicide anyway, I know that this needs to be done. As someone who has attempted suicide and as someone who has now lost 2 dear friends to suicide, I know that much work needs to be done in suicide prevention. There are suicide prevention hotlines, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are supposed to help people before they get to the point of suicide contemplation. Sometimes they are successful, but other times, as in my case, people who are having suicidal thoughts will not want to speak to a doctor who will report their feelings to the police, who could potentially hospitalize or institutionalize them. More needs to be done to decrease the fear of those with suicidal thoughts from reaching out to others before they make an attempt to end their lives, but more also needs to be done to try to stop people when they get to that point of actually trying to end their lives. Prevention barriers need to be installed on all major bridges like the Golden Gate, and other landmarks that could attract attempts. Will a prevention barrier on the Golden Gate bridge ensure that everyone who was going to attempt suicide there never tries it again? No. Will it save every life so lost in despair that they feel it is their only option? Sadly, no. Suicide prevention is an ongoing struggle. But it would be a step in the right direction, and it would prevent the families of 37 people a year from potentially never finding their loved one's body and could result in those 37 people getting the help they desperately need. So if you have ever lost a family member or friend to suicide, if you have ever attempted suicide and realized after what an amazing gift life truly is, or if you want to help prevent suicides and remove the dark legacy surrounding the Golden Gate bridge, demand that the city of San Francisco finally take action and find a way to install a prevention barrier. I may not be successful in my goal, but I have to try, out of the love for my friend lost. Thank you.