Me and suicide have a thing, it’s like an old friendship- you know, like the people you haven’t spoken to in years but can still strike up a conversation with when the occasion calls me it- we’re not afraid of each other or awkward in the other’s presence, we just get on.
I had my fourth attempt just over a year ago and since I recovered from that I’ve had a fascination with suicide hotspots- these are landmarks and/or public places that are commonly used by people to end their lives. Some famous examples are the Golden Gate Bridge, Beachy Head and the Humber Bridge.
There is a lot of argument and several contradicting studies looking into the effect of various suicide prevention measures such as fences or patrol teams in stopping people from ending their lives at these spots. For me it doesn’t really matter, speaking as someone who’s tried to take their life on several occasions I believe that things like barriers would generally be helpful- in fact, in my opinion, the best thing that could be done in places like these is to have dedicated patrol teams. I think that this would massively reduce the suicide rate in these places. Suicide generally happens when pain exceeds our ability to cope with pain, having someone around to offer support makes the world of difference. (To read a really heartwarming story click here.)
As a case study I’m going to look at the Golden Gate Bridge- which is the top suicide hotspot in the world with 1,500 suicides having been committed there, that’s roughly once every two weeks.
This bridge doesn’t have barriers… why? Because they’d be too expensive and too ugly.
This is the sort of thing that really riles me, the idea that we are essentially putting a price on life- or, even worse- letting our vanity stop us from empathising. This just should notbe happening, it just should not be a problem in our modern ‘advanced’ society.
It amazes me how our government here in the UK can plough millions into pointless pride contests like the Olympics (no disrespect to any athletes, I couldn’t do what they do so I’ll refrain from ragging them out) and yet not have enough money for barriers on notorious bridges in the UK or suicide patrols in hotspots. Fuck you! This modern world that we live in has truly screwed up priorities.
Some of you sat reading this may be thinking: but these people choose to end their lives- why should we even try to stop them?
The answer is very simple. I believe that 99% of people who kill themselves do not want to die. They just can’t think of anything else to do to end the unbearable pain that they’re feeling. They don’t want to die- they just don’t want to live.
Add into the mix people like me who suffer from delusions- I tried to jump off a bloody roof because there were ‘Angels’ surrounding me and telling me that they wanted me to fly with them. I didn’t want to die, not at all, I was confused and bewildered and I only tried to do what I believed was right.
If you live near and suicide hotspot please think about what you can do to help- whether that be donating to buy a barrier or joining a patrol as a volunteer, everyone can make a difference, it’s just about simple human compassion- something that seems sadly undervalued in our society.
If you’re feeling suicidal then please check out these numbers and websites:
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 in the UK and Northern Ireland or 1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland.
Thanks for reading,