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01-26-07, 05:53 PM #1
‘Suicide bridge’ hurts workers’ mental health
Employees near Seattle's Aurora Bridge see people jump to their deaths
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:39 p.m. ET Jan 26, 2007
SEATTLE - A bridge over Seattle is becoming hazardous to the mental health of the dot-com employees and other office workers below, who keep seeing people jump to their deaths from the span.
Thirty-nine people over the past decade have committed suicide off the 155-foot-high Aurora Bridge — eight in 2006 alone — and counselors are regularly brought in to help office workers deal with the shock of seeing the leap or the bloody aftermath.
At least one woman, Sarah Edwards, drives on the left side of the street near her office ever since a body landed on the hood of a co-worker’s car.
City and state officials, meanwhile, are adding suicide-prevention signs and telephones in hopes of reducing the death toll.
Suicides more visible now
The “suicide bridge,” as the half-mile span has been occasionally called since it was built in 1931, carries as many as 45,000 vehicles a day on one of the main north-south highways through Seattle, passing over a narrow channel connecting Lake Washington and Lake Union.
Some jumpers hit the water; others land on the pavement or other solid ground. Either way, they almost always die. (One person is said to have survived after landing in the water.)
The neighborhood beneath the bridge used to be docks and warehouses, and the suicides went largely unnoticed. But during the technology boom of the past two decades, it morphed into a trendy area full of office buildings, shops and restaurants, and the bodies began to fall where people could see them.
“They end up in our parking lot,” said Katie Scharer, one of Edwards’ co-workers at Cutter & Buck, a sportswear company based in the Adobe complex. “Nobody’s ever totally used to it.”
Grief counselors regularly go to Cutter & Buck, paying a visit as recently as a month ago.
Possible solutions sought
A few weeks ago, officials installed six emergency phones and 18 signs that read, “Suicidal?” and give the number of a 24-hour crisis line in bold yellow type.
“Any time you can interrupt a suicide thought process, you have a good chance of success, at least temporarily,” said L.J. Eddy, head of the police hostage negotiation team.
But as for other possible solutions, transportation officials said installing nets or raising the sides of the bridge could interfere with safety inspections — which are made with a big bucket lowered over the railing — and could catch the wind, making the span dangerously unstable.
Moreover, any plans would need to go through a special public approval process because the bridge is a national historic landmark.
Seattle’s other major bridges — the Ship Canal Bridge that carries Interstate 5 and the West Seattle Bridge — see few suicides because they are closed to pedestrians.
The city does not even want to talk about preventing people from walking on the Aurora Bridge, which is a pedestrian link between two densely populated hilltops. But the state has considered moving the pedestrian walkway to an enclosed structure below the span.
Poor babies; I wonder if they’ll vote for an increase in pay for the cops and firemen who actually deal with these things.
We are the thin blue line
and all the money in the world.
And no you can't have any.
01-26-07, 05:56 PM #2
Layoffs hurts staff's mental health
Remaining staff more likely to suffer from insomnia, depression, study says
Updated: 8:32 p.m. ET Jan 17, 2007
LONDON - Workers who survive downsizing measures and hold on to their jobs may consider themselves lucky but they have a higher risk of suffering from mental health problem, Finnish scientists said on Thursday.
After studying the impact of downsizing on municipal employees they found men who kept their jobs were 50 percent more likely to be given a prescription for an antidepressant or sleeping pill than people where there had been no enforced layoffs.
“This quasi-experimental outcome study of 26,653 city employees suggests that downsizing is a mental health risk, not only for employees who lose their jobs, but also for those who remain in employment,” said Professor Mika Kivimaki, of University College London.
Women in the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health were 12 times more likely to use a prescription drug after downsizing.
Sleeping pills were the most commonly used drug for men while women were more often prescribed anti-anxiety drugs.
Kivimaki and his team said employers, policy makers and occupational health experts should recognize that downsizing poses mental health problems.We are the thin blue line
and all the money in the world.
And no you can't have any.
01-26-07, 05:59 PM #3
Re: the first article. I keep thinking of a Monty Python sketch, where the guys make a bet on who will jump next.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
01-26-07, 06:03 PM #4
01-26-07, 06:16 PM #5
Although probably most of us on this forum wouldn't be phased by seeing someone jump to their death, I think it can really affect some people's lives. I know a woman who had a person purposely jump off a bridge into the path of her car and it really had an impact on her life. Crazyness...Calm Like A Bomb...
“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
01-26-07, 10:57 PM #6Banned
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Dealing close up and personal - the police, EMT, fire crews who clean up the mess - that's rough. Being the unwilling implement of destruction like Jewell's example - rougher still. Where are others you can talk to who will understand what you've been through?
Maybe I'm too crass and cynical, but if I had an office with that view I'd and take bets which parking space they'd land in. People die every day, and most don't want to. I'll feel all sad and mushy about the ones who didn't have a choice and those who are left behind.
Guess I wouldn't make much of a suicide hotline councilor.
01-26-07, 11:42 PM #7
01-27-07, 12:44 AM #8
I used to live in Fremont, and quite near the bridge.
Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
or otherwise distort statements of fact.FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley
01-27-07, 12:50 AM #9
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