Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeFeaturesGolden Gate Bridge Completes Suicide Deterrent System

Golden Gate Bridge Completes Suicide Deterrent System

Trigger Warning: Discussion of Suicide

Since it was built in 1937, nearly 2,000 individuals have reportedly jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge. Among them, only 25 are known to have survived, and each year at least 30 more people attempt the jump. In the past few years, there has been a 33% increase in suicides in the United States – another statistic that blatantly displays the need for suicide prevention in as many forms as possible. After years of families identifying bodies and grieving the loss of loved ones, a “suicide deterrent system” has finally been implemented.

Strung end to end on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge, the 3.5 miles of stainless steel nets are now installed, taking longer to build than the bridge itself. While there has been overwhelming support, frustrations have risen regarding the extended timeline of the project. Since the first confirmed suicide took place not long after the bridge was built— and construction of the nets started in 2018— it is clear why there has been frustration regarding the lack of action in prior years from city officials.

Numerous critiques have been made concerning just how easy it is to jump off the bridge. With a railing of just 4 feet, almost anyone is capable of jumping, providing “easy access,” to those battling suicidal ideation, says Paul Muller, president and co-founder of the Bridge Rail Foundation. 

The Bridge Rail Foundation was formed in 2006, three years after former president David Hull’s daughter, Kathy, jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge. Since then, the group has dedicated itself to ending suicides on the bridge. The Bridge Rail Foundation has advocated for the newly installed netting under the bridge and has proposed raising the railing to prevent suicide.

While initially set to take four years to fully complete, the “suicide deterrent system” has taken roughly seven due to cost, delays, and legal back-and-forth. However, as the construction concludes, there is hope in the air. 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in a mental health crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. You can also reach a Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline.

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