If you checked out my earlier post, you’ll see that in November I was able to see the Golden Gate bridge for the very first time, and how EXCITED I was to finally view it. When I walked on the bridge, I realized there was a side of it that I had never known about. A side that gave it a particularly melancholy face.
As I walked toward the Golden Gate Bridge, I saw something particularly disturbing. I couldn’t help but notice the many signs reminding people there is hope. They even have a phone to use for crisis counseling. This made me wonder…..how frequent is suicide here? Naive as it may seem, I never saw the Bridge as a suicide hotspot. As an outsider, I saw it as a beautiful historic structure given the spotlight in countless films, tv shows, and music.
I did a bit of research merely out of curiosity and found that there have been about 1600 suicidal leaps from the Golden Gate Bridge. 1600! There have been more suicides there than anywhere else in the world. People have even looked for ways to “suicide-proof” the bridge. There is even a foundation promoting the cause.
We live in a world where such a beautiful structure needs to be altered to keep people from taking their own lives. If only we lived in a world where depression and mental illness didn’t exist. I personally know 3 people who have succumb to suicide. Each of them never led anyone to believe they were unhappy. Each of them hid their sadness from the outside world – and that’s a scary thing, because you never know who is needing you most.
I hope one day that people will realize that suicide isn’t the only way out and they have so much to offer in life.
So now when I look at the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s not just this beautiful tourist attraction that I had been ecstatic to see, peeking out of the San Francisco fog layers. Its beauty is a mask for the sadness that seems to loom underneath. It’s an American icon with a dark past and a hopeful future.