In 2002 in the port city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, mark hennick − a teenager struggling with depression, tried to commit suicide. He came by night to the bridge, which had railings and was going to jump. “I would have died that night if someone hadn’t saved my life,” he recalled.
Now hennick – specialist in mental health and human rights activist in Toronto and, in his opinion, a fence along the bridges play a key role in the fight against suicide.
He praised the government of Toronto for the fact that it is studying the possibility of building these fences, as well as other strategies to prevent the cases of suicide on bridges in Toronto. This issue was discussed by the Executive Committee at city Council Monday, may 14, and a proposal to engage in a more detailed analysis received a “green light”.
“Many jurisdictions have established barriers on bridges and found that they are effective in preventing or reducing the number of suicides,” − said in a statement, Kate Bassil, acting assistant Director for health in the Department of health, Toronto.
Team Bassila has prepared a report on request of the city Council of Toronto two years ago. In the period from 2004 to 2015 in the area of bridges in Toronto, 125 people died by suicide. As noted in the report, on average, each year occurred with 10 deaths.
However, studies show that the number of suicides on bridges is reduced by 93% after the installation of fences or grids.
The bridge Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, which is often called the Bloor Viaduct that connects Bloor Street with Danforth Avenue. It confirms the usefulness of the installation of the barrier in action.
Prior to the installation of barriers here in 2004, during the last two decades from this bridge every year jumped an average of nine people. When the fence is installed, there happened only one suicide per year − without increasing mortality on the other city bridges.
“This is a proven method that we know works,” said hennick.
Considering these studies, the Department of transportation services of Toronto is planning to consider the installation of fences and in other places, as well as to address other possible methods of prevention, such as phones, assistance in crisis situations or signs.
It is expected that these works will commence from next year.
According to the report, the approach of the Department of transportation services techno-economic assessment “in the area of priority bridges” will cost about $1-$2 million.