Tuesday, 26 January 2010

How much longer before action?

Last week, there appears an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about suicide deaths due to jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge http://blog.sfgate.com/inmarin/2010/01/21/marin-coroner-releases-2009-golden-gate-bridge-suicide-count/. According the Chronicle, last year there were 31 deaths, the year before that there were 34. Over 1,300 people have died by suicide from jumping from the bridge since it was built.

And what is the essence of the story? Apparently the Marin County Coroners Office wants to recommend suicide prevention barriers and this is controversial. And guess what – more studies are apparently recommended.

Now, readers of this blog know how committed I am to research. You also know that I am committed to action. Will putting up an appropriate barrier decrease the rate of successful suicides by jumping from the bridge? Highly likely. Is this a good thing. For sure. So why is it not being done. Who knows?
I remember the hard work that went into getting barriers erected on the Bloor St. Viaduct in Toronto. There the effort was lead by a young man with lived experience of mental illness. I know of the hard work that went into getting a barrier erected on the MacDonald Bridge in Halifax. There the effort was lead by a mother who had lost her son to suicide from the bridge.

It the courageous activity of people like those Toronto and Halifax citizens that seems to be necessary before authorities can act. I am so proud to know and support those leaders and I thank them for everything that they have done and continue to do in this regard. What I don’t get is this. Why is it so hard to do the right thing when it comes to mental health action?

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