The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world’s most famous landmarks and perhaps the most common suicide site. More than 1,600 people are believed to have leaped to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937, including 39 last year. Hundreds of other people are still alive because volunteers and law enforcement officers persuaded them to reconsider plans to harm themselves. There’s hope for saving more lives, and perhaps closing the book on the bridge’s history as a suicide magnet, with work finally starting on a suicide barrier. A barrier was first proposed in the 1970s, but approval didn’t come for more than three decades. And it has taken another decade to cobble together the $204 million needed to erect a safety net the size of seven football fields about 20 feet below the deck and extending about 20 feet from the edge of the bridge. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
Researchers have found that more 90 percent of people stopped from jumping don’t try to take their own lives again.