Every two weeks, on average, someone jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the world’s leading suicide location. [...] At least twelve hundred people have been seen jumping or have been found in the water since the bridge opened, in 1937, including Roy Raymond, the founder of Victoria’s Secret, in 1993, and Duane Garrett, a Democratic fund-raiser and a friend of Al Gore’s, in 1995. The actual toll is probably considerably higher, swelled by legions of the stealthy, who sneak onto the bridge after the walkway closes at sundown and are carried to sea with the neap tide.
In centuries past, suicides were buried at night at a crossroads, under piles of stones, or had stakes driven through their hearts to prevent their unquiet spirits from troubling the rest of us. In the United States today, someone takes his own life every eighteen minutes, and suicide is much more common than homicide.
Dr. Seiden’s study, “Where Are They Now?,” (PDF) published in 1978, followed up on five hundred and fifteen people who were prevented from attempting suicide at the bridge between 1937 and 1971. After, on average, more than twenty-six years, ninety-four per cent of the would-be suicides were either still alive or had died of natural causes. “The findings confirm previous observations that suicidal behavior is crisis-oriented and acute in nature,” Seiden concluded; if you can get a suicidal person through his crisis—Seiden put the high-risk period at ninety days—chances are extremely good that he won’t kill himself later.
In the Seattle area, the iconic place to jump is the Aurora Avenue Bridge. The group Seattle FRIENDS is working to erect a suicide barrier.
And on a completely different note: PuppyCam :)
(I got the links to The New Yorker & Puppycam from Slog.)