Suicide is, by definition, the act of causing one’s own death. People who resort to suicide are often depressed, suffer from other forms of mental illness, and/or have recently gone through a traumatizing experience that makes them feel like death is their only option. Despite there being numerous resources for people who find themselves having suicidal thoughts, a lot of people just have no fight left in them. Once the decision to die has been made, they have no intention of changing their minds.
Death is something we all must experience alone one day. It can be a lonely thought to imagine dying with no one around to care. That might be one of the reasons some people choose to commit suicide in a public place. They want someone to care. To try to stop them. To notice. It could be a cry for help.
On the other hand, some people could choose to force others to witness their death because they want to be remembered. They want their death to be something that people talk about. Either way, suicide is a devastating way to lose a loved one, and anyone contemplating suicide deserves help to realize the value of their life again. Here are 10 landmarks famous for attracting the most suicide attempts.
10. The Golden Gate Bridge – San Fransisco, California
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge has been called the second most common suicide site in the world even though the highway patrol is able to talk 80-90% of potential jumpers out of taking that final step. More than 1,400 people have been known to commit suicide there since 1937, and many more suspected. The location is so popular that there are a number of signs with crisis hotline numbers posted along the bridge, and a plan to install a giant netting under the bridge has been approved in order to stop people from hitting the water. There has been 34 cases of people jumping and actually surviving, but the vast majority die on impact, or end up drowning or dying of hypothermia.
9. London Underground – London, England
Commonly known as “The Tube”, London’s subway system is one of the most common places to witness a suicide. People think, often misguidedly, that jumping in front of a speeding subway train is guaranteed to kill them instantly. But that often is not the case, as only 40% of jumpers actually die. Luckily, a lot of people who attempt suicide this way end up surviving because of the water drainage pits located under the tracks at half of all stations. When someone falls into the pit, the train rushes over them, leaving them unharmed. Survivors are often charged with offenses such as “endangering safety on the railway” and “obstruction of trains with intent”.
8. The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
The number one tourist attraction in Paris also has the distinction of being the location of the third most popular way to commit suicide in the entire country. Behind poisoning, and hanging, jumping off the Eiffel Tower is a common method of choice. Despite management doing everything it can to stop people from committing suicide this way, including netting, and railings, there are still people that manage to do it anyway. Some will even scale the outside of the tower and jump from there. It’s unknown exactly how many suicides attempts have occurred at the tower, because as a spokesperson says, “it’s always too many.”
7. The Prince Edward Viaduct – Toronto, Ontario
Also known as the Bloor Viaduct, this bridge in Toronto’s east end had become a magnet for suicide, at nearly 500 by 2003, with a record of one per day for 22 days straight in 1997. In 2003, the city completed constructing a barrier called the Luminous Veil in order to prevent more suicides. The veil consists of 9,000 steel rods that make it difficult, if not impossible, for someone to climb over the ledge and jump. The barrier has been extremely effective in preventing suicide in that location.
6. Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge – Nanjing, China
By 2006, there had been an estimated 2,000 suicides at the Nanjing Yangtze Bride in Nanjing, China, making it the number one suicide location in the world. An additional 100-200 people per year are stopped from committing suicide on the bridge, and that’s only the ones authorities are aware of. A local man named Chen Si has saved more than 200 people considering suicide on the bridge. Since 2004, he has devoted his spare time to patrolling the bridge and literally talking people off the ledge. He even goes so far as to call them later to check up on them, and has offered some a place to stay if they need it.
5. The Gap – Sydney, Australia
The Gap is an ocean cliff on the South Head peninsula in Sydney, Australia where around 50 people a year jump to their deaths. Between 2008 and 2011, numerous safety measures were put into effect to prevent people from committing suicide there, including crisis hotline phones, fences, and security cameras. Don Ritchie, a Second World War Naval veteran lived across from the cliffs until his death in 2012, and he was confirmed to have saved at least 160 people from jumping simply by engaging them in conversation and inviting them for tea. He was given the Medal of Order of Australia for his heroic efforts, and was nicknamed the “Angel of the Gap”.
4. Sunshine Skyway Bridge – Tampa Bay, Florida
Since 1987, at least 207 people have committed suicide by jumping from the highest point of the bridge into the water below. Many more are suspected, but can’t be confirmed. In 1999, the state of Florida installed 6 crisis hotline telephones along the bridge, and began 24-hour patrols in an effort to prevent suicides. Pedestrians, cycling, and stopping your car to get out on the bridge are all prohibited and will attract a police responder. Corporal Gary Schluter of the Florida State Highway Patrol told the New York Times that even though the water below may look serene, it’s more like “hitting concrete. The fall, less than four seconds, ends in a bone-snapping, organ-rupturing trauma, but some jumpers do not lose consciousness, and drown in agony.”
3. Aokigahara Forest – Japan
While the method of suicide varies from drug overdoses to hanging, the Aokigahara Forest in Japan is one of the most popular places to commit suicide in the country. In 2010, 247 people attempted suicide in the forest, with 54 succeeding. The forest is associated with demons in Japanese mythology, and is said to be haunted by angry spirits. There are signs posted everywhere urging people to reconsider their decision to commit suicide, and the police conduct an annual body search, which often turns up the corpses of people no one even reported missing.
2. Beachy Head – England
Beachy Head in Southern England is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 531 ft above sea level. There are an estimated 20 suicides per year there, despite the numerous signs and crisis hotline phone booths, regular day and evening patrols, and employees of local pubs and taxi drivers constantly on high alert for possible jumpers. Suicides have been well covered by the media, which only serves to attract more jumpers
1. Corinth Canal – Greece
The Corinth Canal is the most infamous suicide spot in all of Greece, and like the Eiffel Tower, it attracts not only locals, but tourists from all over the world. The Corinth Canal is 3.9 miles long, cutting through the Isthmus of Corinth which saves small ships a journey of about 450 miles between the Saronic Gulf and the Aegean Sea. It is beautiful as well as efficient, and according to local authorities it has attracted the suicide attempts of people from 15 different countries.
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