Suicide fences were cut dramatically at the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay

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Site visitors flows south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Florida.., as a brand new suicide prevention barrier has been accomplished. For many years, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has been one in every of Tampa Bay’s most iconic landmarks. However the 190-foot summit has additionally attracted a whole lot of people that need to commit suicide. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Instances through AP)

AP

For many years, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has been one in every of Tampa Bay’s most iconic landmarks. However the 190-foot summit has additionally attracted a whole lot of people that need to commit suicide.

Most of those that jumped from the high quality died. Every time, witnesses, first responders, and family members are shocked.

Now, within the practically 12 months because the ramparts have been accomplished alongside the highest of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, suicide charges have dropped dramatically.

For the reason that fence was accomplished on June 23, 2021, there have been 4 individuals who managed to leap off the Skyway Bridge and died. Ten folks jumped however didn’t die, whereas 80 others threatened to leap, throughout the identical time interval.

“It was an efficient resolution to assist eradicate this drawback,” stated Florida Freeway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins advised the Bradenton Herald.

Earlier than the security fencing was put in, the common suicides from the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway bridge have been 12 to fifteen years.

“There are such a lot of people who find themselves battling their very own ideas and emotions, and we encourage anybody experiencing ideas of suicide to hunt assist,” stated Ken Gibson, a spokesperson for the Tampa Bay Disaster Heart.

This stainless-steel and diamond fencing is roughly 11 ft excessive. Fence runs on all sides of the extension, with the bridge solely about 50 ft above the water. The opening between the north-south directional extensions doesn’t lengthen upward towards the summit.

Over time, state companies have achieved different issues to stop folks from leaping off the bridge.

Six telephones—which join on to the suicide hotline on the Tampa Bay disaster middle—have been put in in 1999 alongside the high quality. Purple flags additionally let folks know that assist is obtainable, and encourage them to select up a telephone.

The Florida Freeway Patrol additionally patrols the bridge 24/7, and cameras on prime of the bridge are monitored. The Florida Division of Transportation has additionally put in pedestrian and parked automobile detectors in an effort to scale back response time when somebody is standing on the bridge.

Might has been designated as Nationwide Psychological Well being Consciousness Month. As of 2019, suicide was the tenth main explanation for dying total in the USA, killing greater than 47,500 folks, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. For folks aged 10 to 24, it’s the second main trigger, rating fourth for these aged 35 to 44.

In 2019, the Nationwide Institute of Psychological Well being stated on its web site: “In 2019, there have been practically two and a half occasions extra suicides (47,511) in the USA than there have been (19,141) homicides.

As a part of a daily column, Manatee County Commissioner 4 Misty Servia this week pressured the significance of psychological well being in our neighborhood.

“There isn’t a disgrace in searching for assist from an expert,” Servia stated. “In honor of Psychological Well being Consciousness Month, let’s all work collectively to take away the stigma round psychological well being challenges and silence the stigma by recognizing that life is tough and it is okay to ask for assist throughout these tough moments.”

need assistance? In case you or somebody you realize is considering suicide, please name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for confidential assist and route to useful assets. Assist can be accessible on-line by visiting: suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The Tampa Bay Disaster Heart can be reached by calling 2-1-1. or on-line at crisiscenter.com.

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