Suicide bridge

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The Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea has been nicknamed "Suicide Bridge" and "The Bridge of Death" due to its frequent usage as a suicide hotspot amidst South Korea's ongoing suicide epidemic.

A suicide bridge is a bridge used frequently to die by suicide, most typically by jumping off and into the water or ground below. A fall from the height of a tall bridge into water may be fatal, although some people have survived jumps from high bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Medical examiners at the Golden Gate Bridge state that jumpers suffer a gruesome death as their bodies hit the water at about 75 mph (120 km/h), with severe organ damage (multiple ruptured organs and broken necks, pelvises, etc.).[1] However, significant injury or death is far from certain; numerous studies report minimally injured persons who succumbed to drowning.[2]

To reach such locations, those with the intention to die by suicide must often walk long distances to reach the point where they finally decide to jump. For example, some individuals have traveled over the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge by car in order to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge.[3]

Prevention[edit]

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.[4] One study showed that installing barriers on the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, D.C.—which has a high incidence of suicide[5]—did not cause an increase of suicides at the nearby Taft Bridge.[6] A similar result was seen when barriers were erected on the popular suicide bridge: the Clifton Suspension Bridge, in the United Kingdom.[7] Families affected and groups that help the mentally ill have lobbied governments to erect similar barriers. One such barrier is the Luminous Veil on the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, Canada, once considered North America's second deadliest bridge, with over 400 jumps on record.[8]

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

Examples[edit]

Australia[edit]

Free telephones linked to suicide prevention hotline installed at the Story Bridge footpath in Brisbane
Suicide prevention barrier at the Story Bridge in Brisbane

The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Mooney Mooney Bridge on the Central Coast (New South Wales), and the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne, Australia and the Story Bridge in Brisbane are considered suicide bridges.

Sydney Harbour Bridge has a suicide prevention barrier. In February 2009, following the murder of a four-year-old girl who was thrown off the bridge by her father, the first stage of a temporary suicide barrier was erected on Westgate Bridge, constructed of concrete crash barriers topped with a welded mesh fence. The permanent barrier has now been completed throughout the span of the bridge. The barriers are costed at AU$20 million and have been reported to have reduced suicide rates on the Westgate by 85%.[9]

Suicide prevention barriers were installed on the Story Bridge in 2013; a three-metre-high barrier run the full length of both sides of the bridge.[10]

Canada[edit]

There is a number of suicide bridges in the greater Vancouver area, the most frequented being the Lions Gate Bridge, which saw 324 suicidal incidents, including 78 jumps from 2006 to 2017.[2]

The High Level Bridge (Edmonton) in Edmonton, Alberta, is considered a suicide bridge. It is unknown how many deaths have occurred at the bridge, but there have been at least 25 in total, with 10 being from 2012–2013. There have also been many failed attempts at the bridge. A suicide prevention barrier has been installed along with signage and support phone lines.[11]

The Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, Quebec, is considered a suicide bridge. In 2004, a suicide prevention barrier was installed. Until then the bridge saw an average of 10 suicides a year.[12]

The Prince Edward Viaduct, commonly referred to as the Bloor Viaduct, in Toronto, Ontario, was considered a suicide bridge. With nearly 500 suicides by 2003, the Viaduct was ranked as the second most fatal standing structure in North America, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.[13] Suicides dropped to zero after a barrier was completed in 2003.

The Lethbridge Viaduct in Lethbridge, Alberta, also known as the High Level Bridge, locally known as the Deathbridge[citation needed], is considered a suicide bridge. It is unknown how many deaths have occurred at the bridge in its 107 year long history. Suicide prevention signage has been installed at the entrance to the bridge, however no further prevention program is in development.[14]

The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been used for suicide attempts.[15] As of 2010, safety barriers have been installed the full length of the pedestrian walkway.

Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines, Ontario has had several suicides since 2018, mostly young adults or people who were turned away from the nearby hospital for psychiatric treatment. Volunteers have started to position themselves at key points on the bridge, in the hopes of stopping further suicides.

Czech Republic[edit]

About 300 people have jumped to their death from the Nusle Bridge, in Prague, Czech Republic.[16] Barriers almost 3 metres high were erected here in 1997 with aim to prevent further jumps.[17] In 2007, the fencing was topped off with a 3-foot-wide strip (0.91 m) of polished metal to make it impossible to climb.[18]

The Sítenský most [cs] in Kladno has also been described as a suicide bridge and "second Nusle". Between 2013 and 2018, 23 suicides were attempted there. Because it is only 15 metres (49 ft) from the ground, attempts are not always successful, however the bridge is easy to access and there is no suicide barrier.[19]

South Africa[edit]

South Korea[edit]

As a suicide prevention initiative, this sign on the Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea displays reassuring messages to potential suicide victims. The phrase on this particular handrail pictured reads: "The wind is really nice."

United Kingdom[edit]

  • The Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and was opened in 1864. Since then, it has gained a reputation as a suicide bridge, with over 500 deaths from jumping. It has plaques that advertise the telephone number of The Samaritans. In 1998, the bridge was fitted with suicide barriers, which halved the suicide rate in the years following.[31] CCTV is also installed on the bridge.
  • A notable suicide bridge in London is the Hornsey Lane Bridge,[32] which passes over Archway Road and connects the Highgate and Crouch End areas. The bridge provides views of notable landmarks such as St. Paul's Cathedral, The Gherkin and The Shard. It was the venue for the mental illness campaign group Mad Pride's inaugural vigil in 2000,[33] and was the subject of Johnny Burke's 2006 film The Bridge.[34] When, at the end of 2010, three men in three weeks committed suicide by jumping from the bridge, a campaign was set up by local residents for better anti-suicide measures to be put in place.[35] In October 2015 Islington Council and Haringey Council approved Transport for London's plans for the construction of a safety fence.[36] In summer 2019, Haringey Council installed additional measures to prevent suicide from the bridge in the form of 3m high fence.[37]
  • At the Humber Bridge in Hull More than 200 incidents of people jumping or falling from the bridge have taken place since opening in 1981. Between 1990 and February 2001 the Humber Rescue Team was called 64 times to deal with people falling or jumping off the bridge.
  • Overtoun Bridge near Dumbarton in West Dunbartonshire has been publicised due to dogs appearing to commit suicide by jumping or falling from the bridge, which was also involved in a human murder and attempted suicide. Attempts have been made to explain the death of the dogs as due to repeated accidents.

United States[edit]

As a suicide prevention initiative, signs on the Golden Gate Bridge promote special telephones that connect to a crisis hotline, as well as a 24/7 crisis text line.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Koopman, John (November 2, 2005). "LETHAL BEAUTY / No easy death: Suicide by bridge is gruesome, and death is almost certain. The fourth in a seven-part series on the Golden Gate Bridge barrier debate". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Stephanian, D. |url = https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0387208 |title = Outcomes in suicidal bridge jumping in the Lower Mainland |date = December, 2019
  3. ^ Friend, Tad (October 13, 2003). "Jumpers: The fatal grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge". The New Yorker. Vol. 79 no. 30. p. 48.
  4. ^ "Draper" (PDF). 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Akst, Daniel (19 July 2012). "With suicide, when there's a way, there's a will". Newsday. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  6. ^ Krauss, Clifford (2003-02-18). "Toronto Journal; A Veil of Deterrence for a Bridge With a Dark Side". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  7. ^ Bennewith D, Nowers M, Gunnell D (2007). "Effect of barriers on the Clifton suspension bridge, England, on local patterns of suicide: implications for prevention". British Journal of Psychiatry. 190 (3): 266–267. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.106.027136. PMID 17329749.
  8. ^ Krauss, Clifford (2003-02-16). "A Veil of Deterrence for a Bridge With a Dark Side". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  9. ^ MICKELBUROUGH, Peter (2011-04-14). "Westgage Suicide Barriers Reduce Number of Deaths at Bridge". Herald Sun news. Retrieved 2014-06-15.[dead link]
  10. ^ Sykes, Emma (6 February 2013). "Barriers on Story Bridge for suicide prevention". ABC News. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Story of the Oilers: Hanging out, hands in pockets, shirts not tucked in, goals against | Edmonton Journal". Edmonton Journal. 2015-08-05.
  12. ^ "La barrière anti-suicide a prouvé son utilité". Le Devoir (in French). 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  13. ^ "Bridge Barrier Fails to Lower Toronto's Suicide Rate: Suicide-by-jumping rate at Bloor Street Viaduct lower; rates at other bridges higher". HealthDay News. July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  14. ^ "Do more to stop suicides off Lethbridge bridge, ask parents". CBC. 2012-06-04.
  15. ^ "Adam's fall". The Coast. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  16. ^ "Pod Nuselským mostem bude pietní socha připomínající sebevraždy". Novinky.cz. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
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  18. ^ "New Railing on the 'Suicide Bridge' Can't Be Climbed Over". A/B/C Prague. 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  19. ^ "Sítenský most v Kladně je jako druhý Nuselák. Má jen 15 metrů, přesto se mu přezdívá "most sebevrahů"". Náš REGION. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Another Van Staden's suicide". News24. 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
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  22. ^ "Seoul anti-suicide initiative backfires, deaths increase by more than six times". 26 February 2014.
  23. ^ Mission Field Media. "Mapo Bridge a.k.a. "Suicide Bridge" - Seoul, South Korea" – via YouTube.
  24. ^ Luke Williams. "Went To Mapo Bridge!" – via YouTube.
  25. ^ VICE. "On Patrol with South Korea's Suicide Rescue Team" – via YouTube.
  26. ^ LarrySeesAsia. "The Mapo "Suicide" Bridge. Seoul, SK. (Video 1 of 4)" – via YouTube.
  27. ^ Oussayma Canbarieh. "Mapo - The Bridge of Death 마포대교" – via YouTube.
  28. ^ futuexfuture. "생명의 다리 (Bridge of Life) - 마포대교 Mapo Bridge & Suicide Prevention (ENG)" – via YouTube.
  29. ^ Briggs, Kevin. "The bridge between suicide and life" – via www.ted.com.
  30. ^ PERPERIDIS SPYRIDONAS. "AD SAMSUNG BRIDGE OF LIFE SOUTH KOREA" – via YouTube.
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  32. ^ "ARCHWAY (A1 ROAD BRIDGE)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 9 July 1971. col. 1777.
  33. ^ Rob Dellar (2002). "Archive Volume 13 > Number 4: 'Believing in Bedlam'". AsylumONLINE. Archived from the original on February 19, 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2012.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  34. ^ "Special Screenings". Rio Cinema. April 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-14. THE BRIDGE UK MiniDV 8mins 8 Director/Producer/Screenplay Johnny Burke There is a 100 year old woman, a serial killer, in North London. Her name is "Suicide Bridge". High above the Archway Road, throwing a heavy shadow over the passing traffic, she assists the tragic people who come for her help.
  35. ^ "Hornsey Lane Bridge Anti-Suicide Campaign". Hornsey Lane Bridge Anti-Suicide Campaign. September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  36. ^ "Haringey Council approves anti-suicide measures for Archway Bridge after 10-year fight". Ham & High. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
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  40. ^ "Funding Study". GoldenGateBridge.org.
  41. ^ Smith, Stephanie (27 June 2014). "Funding for Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier approved" (Suicide Barrier on Golden Gate Bridge). CNN. CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
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  46. ^ Bobrowsky, Olivia (2011-02-15). "Construction of Aurora Bridge suicide barrier completed". The Seattle Times.
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  55. ^ Tyson, Daniel (August 25, 2015). "Man dies after jumping from New River Gorge Bridge". Fayette Tribune. Register-Herald.com, The Register-Herald. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  56. ^ Hamilton, Carl (Oct 13, 2011). "Police confirm the identity of bridge jumper". Cecil Daily.
  57. ^ "One man dies, another injured in jumps from Bay Bridge". Cecil Daily. Nov 15, 2011.
  58. ^ "First responder saves man from suicide on bridge". WGBA. 12 April 2018.
  59. ^ Miller, S.A. (November 30, 2017). "Woman jumps off Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland". The Washington Times.
  60. ^ "3 plunge from Bay Bridge; 2 killed". Washington Examiner. 18 April 2011.
  61. ^ "Every 3.5 Days, Someone Attempts Suicide Off the George Washington Bridge". WNYC. 29 Jan 2015.

External links[edit]