Furthermore, if you drive over a likely bridge, or can see it from your house, it’s a daily reminder that you do have the ultimate option. I can see how driving over a bridge on the way home every single day means the very idea of a quick, easy suicide makes it into your mind in a way that no other option really does. And I think driving is an especially isolated and depressing time: you are often very alone with your thoughts and get stuck in bad loops.
Thank you! I find that cite fascinating.
You very well may have read that, but it isn’t true. Japan has a far higher suicide rate than the US, despite having virtually no guns at all. The Japanese are simply more inventive about it.
Flyer Japan is culturally very different from the United States. In the U.S., comparing across states, gun ownership is closely linked to suicide risk. Not because gun owners are violent or depressive people, but because suicide attempts are much more likely to succeed.
If you want to learn more about the psychology and impact (pun very much not intended) of people who commit or try to commit suicide by jumping off bridges, I recommend watching the excellent but sobering documentary “The Bridge,” about the Golden Gate bridge and the astonishing number of people who have jumped off it. (The Golden Gate is the top destination for suicides-by-bridge… a dubious distinction but there you are.)
WARNING: The documentarians placed a stationary camera and aimed it at the bridge for a period of… several weeks or months, I believe… and actually captured several jumpers in the act. If you are depressed already, this is a seriously disturbing thing to see (well, it’s disturbing even if you’re not depressed since you are watching people die) and could be a trigger. They also interview someone who keeps thinking about jumping and, eventually, does.
At one point the camera shows a man walking back and forth along the bridge for several hours, obviously contemplating or gathering the nerve to do it. Finally he climbs over and falls. Heartbreaking.
It’s a must-see film for anyone of a mind to understanding suicide, but also extremely sad and distressing. You might not even realize how distressing it is until you see it.
The above link was to the film itself. If you just want to read about it rather than seeing it, here’s an article about the controversy surrounding it, and here’s the obligatory Wikipedia entry.
NM–my comments were about the film The Bridge, but choie beat me to it.
Stepping in front of high speed trains in Japan once became a popular and effective method of suicide, which was not practicable in the USA where few trains ran fast enough to do much harm to a person on the tracks. Such suicides invariably resulted in lengthy stoppages of the train, and consequent economic losses to the railroads, so they instituted a policy of holding the family of the suicide financially responsible for any costs incurred from the event. The had the desired result, as few suicides were willing to impose this financial burden on their families.
correction… “aren’t terribly capable of putting in a lot of effort and planning”
Paradoxically, people are more likely to be successful suicides as they come out of depression.
Ever wonder what’s the thing with all these ‘attempted’ suicides? Depressed people have trouble just coping, of course they have trouble trying to kill themselves.
And what’s the thing with people who call an ambulance after poisoning themself? Depression is marked by loss of judgement and even worse loss of sense of judgement: a person who can’t even work out which sock to put on first is not someone you want to depend on for life-or-death decisions.
Take away: More depressed people would kill themselves if it was easier or more obvious, but they are just too depressed.
I have to ask where this is true. I’ve got a 500 count bottle of acetaminophen by my desk, and it came in a two pack from Costco.
Wow. Good article. I had always heard that many jumpers drove over other bay bridges on their way to the Golden Gate, but I’d never realized how fixated they really were. Quote from the article:
It’s true in the UK, which is where Gyrate is based. Not sure why he confused things by mentioning Tylenol.
Probably trying to translate into American English, since we confuse things further by calling it acetaminophen instead of paracetamol.
[QUOTE=Melbourne;17032472Ever wonder what’s the thing with all these ‘attempted’ suicides? Depressed people have trouble just coping, of course they have trouble trying to kill themselves. [/QUOTE]
Well, I think to be fair we can ascribe failed attempts to more than just pure incompetence on the part of depressed people. I think there’s probably quite a bit of ambivalence leading to half-hearted attempts as well as intentionally not-succeeding ‘cries for help’; I wouldn’t call either of those incompetent.
Sorry for the confusion - it was a reference to the OP:
That’s not too surprising. The other major bridges in the area (Bay Bridge, Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo-Hayward) lack pedestrian walkways, although one could, in theory, just stop their car and jump off.
Of course it was. In quotes and everything. Any confusion on my part was entirely of my own making.
Good to know those are the same.
And a second thing I did not know. Cool.
I once Google street-viewed Peg Entwistle’s last address, 2428 N. Beachwood Drive, and there at the end of the street looms the HOLLYWOO(LAND) sign. She jumped off the H, the first letter she’d have approached.
But further use of the sign has not occurred. And despondent people don’t make pilgrimages to Hawaii to leap into Kiluea. The scene has to be prominent, quotidian, and established in the common consciousness as the suicide place. The Golden Gate and Aurora* bridges fit that bill.
*Jumpers at the Tacoma Narrows bridges never come from Seattle. They may be at their lowest ebb, but they still have enough self-respect to stay above the Pierce County line.
At each end of the High-Level Bridge, how about placing boxes containing free bus tickets out of Edmonton. Would that help?
The Dumbarton Bridge does have a pedestrian walkway. I’ve never heard of a suicide on it, though. It might be too low for people to be sure they’d die. I don’t recall the barrier being all that high.
Even more interesting than bridges are gas ovens. From the Cracked article
Sylvia Plath killed herself in this way. Ovens were omnipresent, always available, and private. Raising the difficulty factor clearly reduced the suicide rate.