Golden Gate Bridge. Suicide.
The Golden Gate Bridge caused 46 suicides in 2014. Or at least, that is what the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District board would have you believe. They voted on Friday, June 27, 2014 to approve a $76 million project to install a safety net on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge. Why? Apparently to avert suicide. (How ironic, considering the economic opposition to a high speed rail through California, yet $76 million for a net is okay). Am I dreaming or what? In a state that screams poverty, because we do not have enough funds to provide services to those in need, we dare spend $76-million on a suicide net. Not $76 or even $7,600, but $76 million dollars to build a net around the Golden Gate Bridge, ostensibly to prevent suicide. Why not spend some of that money to beef up the suicide hotline, or seriously address the mental health (including substance abuse) issues.
It’s reported that $27 million would come from the federal Surface Transportation Program, $22 million from the federal Local Highway Bridge Program, $20 million from its own reserves, and $7 million from California Mental Health Service Act money.
Suicide. Suicide Hotline. Golden Gate Bridge.
The District’s general manager, Dennis Mulligan said, “People committing suicide by jumping from the bridge has been a problem for many years… in 2013, 46 people committed suicide on the bridge.”
The irony is that the Bridge District members, who unanimously approved this measure, obviously believe the bridge cause suicides. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide knows, where there is a will there is a way. If someone really wants to take their life–they will. If they can’t jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, they will go to the Bay Bridge, or the Dumbarton Bridge, or the San Mateo Bridge, or the Benicia Bridge, or any number of other bridges in the Bay Area. And if they really want to take their life and no bridge is available, they will find a more immediate and lethal option. I personally know that all too well.
Instead of spending $76 million to build a net around the Golden Gate Bridge, why not spend some of that money of health care provisions and counseling for those who want to commit suicide? Or why not invest in changing the conditions that drive people to want to commit suicide? Invest in a suicide hotline. Make the suicide hotline a truly valuable resource. The issue is not the bridge.
What do you think? Join the conversation on one of my Facebook Pages, Twitter Pages, Google+ Circles, or in a LinkedIn Group.