Over the past 2 decades, the national suicide rate has increased by thirty percent (30%).
In Rhode Island, there is 1 suicide death every 3 days. These numbers are staggering to not only the community as a whole, but to family, friends, and loved ones, and the call to action is getting louder.
Bridges have been a long-established, accessible lethal means of suicide. Rhode Island’s picturesque bridges contribute to the beauty of our state and support travel. However, these same bridges also represent sites of despair and tragedy that reverberate for generations.
Study after study has shown that bridge barriers save lives! With suicide deaths and attempts on the rise, RI officials, advocates, first responders, and many others are sounding the alarm.
Legislation recently proposed in Rhode Island’s General Assembly would mandate the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to construct safety barriers on four Rhode Island bridges that span our waterways, including:
- the Mount Hope bridge
- the Newport Pell bridge
- the Jamestown Verrazzano bridge
- the Sakonnet River bridge
In the words of one of the bill's sponsors, Joseph J. Solomon Jr, “There’s really no time to waste. Every life counts.”
Putting safety measures on bridges is an effective public health initiative to prevent suicides in RI. Other individuals who have been impacted by the suicide of someone jumping from a bridge also support the need for barriers. "Safety barriers have been proven to save lives. You've seen it with other bridges. Suicides and falls from bridges are something that we can prevent.”