We support the construction of a physical safety barrier on the Cold Spring Arch Bridge.
Since its construction, more than 50 people have died at Cold Spring Arch Bridge. Eight people died in 2009 alone. These deaths could have been prevented by the installation of a physical safety barrier. A proposal by Caltrans to construct a safety barrier on the bridge has been under discussion since 2005, but objections to the proposal have meant that no action has been taken to stop suicides at the bridge, resulting in further preventable deaths.
The facts in support of the barrier are these:
Construction of a physical barrier is the only proven method for the prevention of suicide by jumping.
- Numerous research studies have demonstrated that the installation of barriers significantly reduces or eliminates deaths by suicide at a particular location.
- No scientific evaluation of the effectiveness of alternative strategies such as human barriers, including the use of call boxes, video monitoring, or on-site patrols, has been carried out.
- The leading mental health organizations dedicated to suicide prevention support the construction of physical barriers on bridges to stop suicidal jumpers.
Suicide is not inevitable in individuals with suicidal thoughts.
- Depression is a serious illness that results in irrational, impulsive behavior in the short term; suicide attempts are often immediately precipitated by stressful life events.
- The overwhelming majority (about 90%) of individuals who survive suicide attempts or are prevented from completing suicide do not commit suicide subsequently.
- Individuals who are prevented from committing suicide by jumping have a lower rate of subsequent completed suicide than individuals who attempt suicide by other means.
Allowing suicides to continue at the bridge has real human costs.
- A local historic landmark has become a monument to tragedy and grief.
- Law enforcement, safety, and search and rescue personnel are unnecessarily diverted from other emergencies and placed in potentially hazardous situations, at the expense of taxpayers, when responding to suicides and suicide attempts at this location.
- Individuals who have died at the bridge are not statistics, but people; the importance of these individuals to their families, friends, and communities, and their contribution to the quality of life in the local area, cannot be overestimated.
- Continuing to allow preventable deaths to occur at this location is unethical and violates the public safety provision of the state constitution.
Stop the tragedy at Cold Spring Bridge. Support the safety barrier. http://www.stopthetragedy.org/