SAN DIEGO — A Facebook local suicide prevention group is asking Caltrans to follow through on their proposed project that will add a suicide barrier to the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
The group’s goal is to apply pressure to the agency to get it to move faster.
“I saw it was happening, all these bridge closures and everybody wanted something done,” said Wayne Strickland, creator of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge suicide prevention group.
Strickland said he has been vocal for the past eight years to local and state politicians as well as Caltrans about better suicide protection and prevention measures on the bridge.
In February, Caltrans proposed a suicide barrier project. It would entail installing an 8 to 10 foot vertical stainless steel net that rises above the side walls. Ten months later, Strickland said he sent a letter to Caltrans asking them to expedite the process.
This comes as California Highway Patrol reported a person jumped off the San Diego Coronado bridge Saturday afternoon.
“To let them know, we keep on pressing to get it done,” Strickland said. “We want it done and we don’t want you to do the big bureaucracy, take forever to get something done. This is lives that are lost.”
“I think it has to be done…it’s a place where people who are really committed to dying go, so it should be protected,” said Dr. Richard Levak, a licensed clinical psychologist.
Dr. Levak said there is a misunderstanding and discomfort when talking about suicide. He added, the holidays are a time where everyone needs to be mindful of our loved one’s mental health.
Levak said, “Research shows, and clinically we know people who are thinking of it, are open to talking about it. And you’re not going to push them into by asking them if they are feeling that bad.”
“During Christmas, if people are lonely and not connected to others, if they’ve been depressed, they’ve been talking about suicide, pay attention, reach out to them,” Levak added.
“Keep on pushing these politicians to get it done because you’ll be lifesavers to them,” Strickland said.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website.