Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

Will suicide nets stop jumpers at the Golden Gate Bridge?

Sunday, February 26th, 2017 | Health & Wellbeing

When it comes to stopping people throwing themselves off the bridge, the question is, can a one-time intervention really save lives?

When thinking of iconic places to take a suicidal jump from, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has to come pretty high up that list. In fact, 1,6000 have jumped to their death from the bridge since it opened. It is a fairly reliable way to do it. In that time 26 people have survived, a 98.4% “success” rate.

Now the Golden Gate Bridge are spending nearly £60,000 on installing suicide prevention nets. These wire nets will hang below the bridge, in an attempt to mostly hide them from public view, and be made of steel. It is not going to be a pleasant fall, but should at least save the life of the jumper.

But will it actually work?

According to The Bridge Rail Foundation, a group that has long been campaigning for suicide deterrents to be installed, there is no question that they will help the situation.

They argue that it is simply not the case that once someone has decided to take their own life, nothing can be done to stop them. In fact, most people who fail to take their own life do not try again. 90% of those who are stopped before they can jump go on to live our their remaining lives without suicide. This is a high suicide rate compared with the general population but suggests that intervening once is overwhelmingly successful in keeping people alive.

Experience from around the world suggests they will be effective as well. A similar scheme in Bern, Switzerland was put into place for bridges and city cathedral. Since the nets were installed at the later, nobody has decided to risk the jump. Since 1998 the only creatures to be pulled out of the nets were two dogs. Presumably, they ran over the ledge by accident.

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 | Foundation, News


I, like many people, was saddened to hear about the apparent suicide of Robin Williams. Loved by many for his work as an actor in Aladdin, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, Flubber and above all here in the UK – Mrs. Doubtfire. This is to list just a few of the films he has starred in and to say nothing of his stand-up career.

Williams death has, at least briefly, shed a light on mental health issues in the wider public consciousness. I think this is a good thing. The more light we can bring to it, the better.

However, this only has value if we can capitalise on this attention and use it to make a positive difference for society. Which is why I am going to shamelessly use this opportunity to ask you to donate to Anxiety Leeds. You only get these opportunities every so often, and my pride is definitely less important than working to prevent more people who are struggling with mental health issues trying to take their own life.

At Anxiety Leeds we run a monthly peer-support group. To be most effective, we need to move to fortnightly. We have the volunteers ready, but currently we lack the funds to do this. Can you help us?

Suicide in young men

Monday, April 15th, 2013 | Foundation, Religion & Politics

April is unfortunately suicide month. It’s the month when more people kill themselves than any other. It’s generally believed this is because the lighter days and better weather provide people will the motivation to to do it – ironically, what keeps people alive in the depths of depression is that they’re too depressed to kill themselves.

It’s timely then that the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) recently published a report claiming that suicide is now the biggest killer of young men – causing more depths than road accidents, murders and HIV combined.

Full coverage can be found in Metro.

This report echoes the issues already raised in our Men’s Issues awareness campaign. 75% of suicides are male, partly due to the stigma that surrounds men getting help for mental health issues – only 17% of men in need of help will seek it, compared to 29% of women.

Dignity in Dying

Sunday, January 16th, 2011 | Events, Humanism

On Thursday, the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire hosted a talk by Nicola Swan, one of the directors of Dignity in Dying.

The talk was interesting though I was quite surprised at the attitude the organisation had no chosen to adopt. They now only advocate what is called “assisted dying.” This means that they no longer support similar issues such as assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia, leading to a very strict definition of what they will actually support.

I found this very disappointing as it results in an organisation which is only working towards legislating the situation where you are terminally ill and administer the solution yourself – they wouldn’t support someone who wasn’t terminally ill but in so much main they wanted to die for example, nor would they support any case where the doctor had to administer the solution.

As a result, in all honestly I came out of the talk with less support for the organisation than I went in with. Yes, their work is important but I think there is a much wider outlook needed – we should be able to take control of our own lives and do with our bodies as we wish – not slightly speed up our exit once it has already been determined.