Suicide is the 11th leading cause of all death in the United States. It is one of most important issues which mental health professionals are concerned about in their clinical work. The American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry of which I have the honor of currently being President, has designated the title of its […]
There is a website titled Postsecrets to which people send artistic postcards with a secret on it. Recently someone from San Francisco wrote a postcard indicating an intention to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
There was an outpouring of responses which resulted in special page on Facebook linked to this postcard on which over 60,000 people have responded with words of support. This phenomena as a form of social empathy is discussed.
As a follow-up to my November 11th blog about suicide jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge, this is a review of a beautiful and poignant documentary film titled The Bridge . In 2004, 24 people died from jumping off this famous bridge. Filmmaker Eric Steel and his crew caught the last moments of many of these people’s lives. They also were able to interview many of their friends and families in order to tell their story and the effect on the people who cared about them. Included was a dramatic interview with a 25 year old man who survived the jump and became a spokesperson for suicide prevention. An added dimension to the Netflix DVD are interviews with the camera crew who worked on this project for over a year and were and were greatly impacted by it.
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most popular suicide site in the world. By the year 2008 approximately 2000 people had jumped off the bridge and committed suicide. 99% of the jumpers from this bridge do not survive. A recent article on this subject in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association by Drs. Mel Blaustein and Anne Flemming is reviewed in this blog. The building of a barrier to prevent suicides at this bridge is also discussed. Understanding and preventing suicidal behavior is the goal of all mental health professionals. A quotation from one of the few people who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge makes the case for making every effort to identify and help people who are suicidal.