Photo: zoonabar via flickr
24 people have killed themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge so far this year, putting 2011 on a pace to have the most such suicides ever (the previous high is 1977, which had 39), reports Scott James for the New York Times.Another 12 people have thrown themselves under trains in the area, which exceeds the 11 who killed themselves that way all last year.
San Francisco’s suicide prevention lines say many people who call are mentioning the economy as a factor in their despair:
“We constantly hear, ‘I’m going to be homeless; I would rather be dead than be homeless,’ the head of the suicide hot line said.
About 500,000 Californians have been unemployed for so long that they’ve run through their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.
At least 1,400 people have killed themselves by leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge since it was built in 1937. And it turns out it’s a brutal way to go: Many jumpers suffer “blunt force trauma” with cracked ribs and other limbs and then drown.
In response to the Golden Gate suicides, the city of San Francisco is planning to build a net around the bridge, at a cost of $45 million. (That’s $10 million more than the $35 million it originally cost to build the bridge.) The net will be made of metal, and it will hurt to to jump into it–a factor that the city hopes will dissuade people from jumping.
One woman who jumped a few months ago, 55-year old Barbara Sue Beaver, emailed a friend from the deck of the bridge and asked him to check in on her pit bull. Beaver had been unemployed for two years since losing her job in a bookstore, and she had no health insurance. A letter found at her home said “I’m too lazy to navigate further.”
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