*See Update Below –
I never thought I might be this involved in state legislation. I have been happy enough just voting on issues that are important to me. But when something comes along that is THIS important, it changes how I feel.
You know me. You know I lost my youngest child by suicide at the age of 20 by a jump off a bridge. You know suicide prevention matters to me. So there is an important piece of legislation is being considered in Sacramento in the Assembly and it needs to pass to be considered by the State Senate. Of Course, your help is needed to ensure passage.
Assembly Bill 755 would require authorities to consider the need for a suicide barrier when a bridge is built or reconstructed in California. This just requires a review to determine if there is a potential of the availability and lethality of a bridge without a barrier. No demands. Just a review. This bill was introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and will be heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 15. The BridgeRail Foundation is one of the sponsors for this bill.
Across the country we have seen law enforcement insist on effect barriers on bridges being reconstructed. We have also seen new bridges being built with some consideration given to potential suicides, but without effective measure taken. And lives lost.
(http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765593087/Hoover-Dam-bridge-suicides-spur-NDOT-review.html?pg=all ) When the Hoover Dam bypass bridge was still under construction I actually wrote to the construction manager. They didn’t feel there would be a problem. Already 2 people have died since it opened last year. Not a good start. Obviously they did not consult the suicide prevention groups, mental health advocates or even law enforcement agencies that would have to deal with the deaths.
Even the California Highway Patrol was the first to advocate for barriers on the Golden Gate Bridge 2 years AFTER it opened. After 75 years we see how far that has gotten. Studies show that restricting easy access to lethal means is proven to reduce suicide, thus we know this legislation can help save lives. So, for the lives lost, the hundreds missing and presumed dead, the ones who regretted letting go of the railing, take a few minutes from your life to be a citizen and make a difference in many lives. Write, call and email your legislator and ask their support of AB 755. Because suicide is never about just the victim. It is about the family, friends, co-eds, co-workers who have to deal with Life without that person.
UPDATE: I am glad to let everyone know that this passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Brown.