Golden Gate Bridge Problem Solved?

Steven C. Owens
2 min readJan 5, 2024

Preventing Suicide on the most famous Bridge or just moving it?

Suicide Prevention Net may only solves a technical problem.

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District began constructing the $217 million steel nets in 2018 to prevent the suicide issue from one of the most famous bridges in America. The minute this was decided that it was necessary and a long time coming the next minute you know it solves only the technical issue.

At more than three miles in length, the nets “are stitched between 369 new struts, 50 feet apart, and painted the same International Orange as the bridge itself,” according to the Mercury Times.

An estimated 30 people or more die from suicide at the bridge each year and that hundreds more are stopped from harming themselves through law enforcement and public intervention.

The barriers are already working as intended, he added. The number of people who jumped declined from an annual average of 30 to 14, with the deaths in the spots where crews had not finished installing the barriers.

Some people still jumped into the net, and crews then helped them out of there. A handful of them jumped into the ocean from the net and died, he added.

The nets are meant to deter a person from jumping and curb the death rate of those who still do, though they will likely be badly injured.

Critics of the project say a lot of money is being spent on the nets to deter people who are determined to end their lives and who will simply find another method to do it.

But supporters of the nets, including the Bridge Rail Foundation, point to studies by Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley that show that most survivors will not try to kill themselves again. They say stopping easy access to lethal means is crucial to preventing suicides. Is it? It may deter them for the moment but if a person is not getting the mental health care that this country has been lagging on then they will eventually end their life. The nets are necessary and it was the right move but we need to do a better job with our Health Care System to take care of and treat our mental health crisis. This is a start and all bridges high enough to kill should have them.

This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 911

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Steven C. Owens

Writer of life lessons sprinkled with meaningful sports and history editorials.