Evidence-Based Approaches To Prevent Suicide Are More Important Than Ever in the United States

  • Suicides have increased by 35% in the US in the last two decades.
  • Authorities in Florida and California added suicide barriers to popular bridges to prevent deaths.
  • The suicide prevention hotline, 988, is available for people who are feeling suicidal.
  • The UK and Israel have both increased restrictions to prevent deaths.

(NewsReady.com) – The last few years have been bad for millions. The national health crisis had a terrible impact on people of all ages. The mental health problems in the US are often discussed by politicians, usually after something terrible has happened. Lawmakers claim more needs to be done to help people who are thinking about taking their own lives, but the country has failed to put widespread mental health programs in place.

Suicide rates have increased by 35% over the last 20 years, with nearly 50,000 people taking their own lives annually. The impact of the problem has made suicide prevention solutions more important than ever.

Golden Gate Bridge

In January, officials announced the completion of a major project on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The installation of stainless steel nets on both sides was finally completed. Officials approved the suicide prevention netting more than a decade ago. They were installed under the bridge and extended about 20 feet. Construction first began in 2018, but there were years of delays.

The Associated Press reported Kevin Hines, his dad, and a group of parents who lost their kids after they jumped off the bridge pushed hard for the netting. Hines survived a suicide attempt from the bridge when he was 19 years old in 2000. He told the AP that he regretted jumping the moment his hands left the bridge’s railing.

Dennis Mulligan, the general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, said the netting is already working. Suicides from the bridge dropped from 30 to 14. The deaths occurred in areas where the nets had not been installed yet.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Across the country, in Florida, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge spans Tampa Bay between St. Petersburg and Terra Ceia. The massive suspension bridge with its 190-foot-high peak is often referred to as Florida’s Golden Gate because of its golden cables and imposing structure. Like the San Francisco structure, it became a popular spot for people who wanted to end their lives.

To combat the sad problem, officials installed 11-foot-high suicide prevention fences along the top of the bridge in 2021. The next year, Bay News 9 reported the number of people taking their own lives on the bridge had dramatically decreased. There were an average of 12 deaths on the bridge prior to the installation, but in the year after, only four people died.

Other Prevention Methods

The National Suicide Prevention Line, 988, offers 24/7 counseling to anyone who is feeling suicidal. It’s not clear how many lives the hotline has saved, but it helps people when they use it.

Other countries have also figured out how to help their citizens. In Israel, the country has restricted access to firearms. Evidence shows that when a suicidal person has access to a weapon, it leads to more deaths. However, the US’s Second Amendment makes it much more difficult to put restrictive measures in place.

In the United Kingdom, officials phased out the use of coal gas, which reduced suicides because people were not able to take their own lives using carbon monoxide.

If you or someone you love feels suicidal, please dial 988 at any time to reach a counselor.

Copyright 2024, NewsReady.com