Friday, June 27, 2014

The Final Leap Perhaps Not So Final Now

Today the Golden Gate Bridge Authorities vote of whether or not to fund the suicide barrier. In the larger scheme of things, I understand both the pros and cons. Yet I surely hope they vote to make the decision positive which will not only prevent some of the death attempts but will provide added safety for bridge maintenance employees.
I've actually never known anyone who made the jump, although I had one client in my years as a psychotherapist who planned it, and for her it was certainly the choice death venue, and the only choice; it called out to her like a magnet.  Ive had two other clients who made serious impulsive attempts however, one from drug overdose and one from climbing the north tower of the Bay bridge. Each of these women were precious lives as far as I was concerned.  Last I heard all three are still alive and in their own ways contributing positively to their families and community. I hope I played a positive part in their recovery from depression and hopelessness. Sometimes the urge to jump is situational, a broken heart from a love affair, for instance. Sometimes it is despair, as in a financial crash. Other times it is genetic. Whatever it is, the Golden Gate seems to hold out its finger beckoning, like the worm on a hook. We need to intervene in every way possible, including continued suicide prevention services. About 80 people per year are taken off the bridge who go there with the intent to end their lives.
Of the 1600 confirmed suicides from the Golden Gate since it opened in 1937, the number is probably misleading. Even if an abandoned car is found in the parking lot, a death is not confirmed until the body is recovered, and if you've navigated the "potato patch" on a fishing boat (I turn green and hang over the rails)  you know how treacherous those waves are. Often bodies are carried quickly out to sea never to be found, or to be washed up somewhere down the coast. The saddest to me are the teenagers, bodies and souls not yet fully formed. Lets prevent some of these needless deaths.

Postscript: It passed unanimously! I was shocked this afternoon when I spoke of it at Current Events here which is attended by fifty or so thoughtful, well-read residents. My guess is that ninety percent
of the members disagreed with my position and that of the Golden Gate Bridge Authority. So I'm curious. What is your position?

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Yes, precious lives! I am continually astonished by how much money is valued over people. If even one life were saved, the expense to make the bridge safer would be worth it.