Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Suicide barriers may fail to cut suicide rates as people go elsewhere

Date:
July 7, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Suicide barriers on bridges might not reduce overall suicide rates by jumping from heights, as people may change location for their suicide attempt, according to a new study.

Suicide barriers on bridges might not reduce overall suicide rates by jumping from heights, as people may change location for their suicide attempt, according to a new study published online in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers from Canada found that the overall suicide rate (by any means) in Toronto reduced after a barrier was erected at one particular bridge known for a high suicide rate, but suicides from jumping remained the same.

Restricting peoples' access to a means of suicide can delay and prevent suicide such as in the UK where switching to carbon monoxide-free sources of gas was successful in reducing suicide numbers.

Suicide barriers erected to prevent jumping have been established at the Empire State Building in the USA, the Eiffel Tower in France, and bridges worldwide. No study so far, however, has shown that a suicide barrier has led to a statistically significant drop in overall suicide rates in an area.

Researchers from Toronto studied the impact of the erection of a suicide barrier at the Bloor Street Viaduct, the bridge with the world's second highest annual rate of suicide by jumping after Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The barrier was constructed between April 2002 and June 2003. Prior to that, there was an average of 10 suicides a year by jumping from the bridge between 1992 and 2002.

The researchers studied data covering all suicides in Ontario during the period 1 January 1993 to 30 June 2007. They classified the nine years from 1993 to 2001 as being before the barrier and the four years from July 1 2003 to June 30 2007 as being after the barrier.

Results showed that suicide deaths at the Bloor Street Viaduct fell from 9.3 per year before the barrier to zero after it was constructed.

However, there was no impact on suicide by jumping in the region as a whole. Toronto's overall yearly suicide rate by jumping was almost unchanged when comparing the pre and post barrier periods at 56.4 per year compared to 56.6 per year.

It was also noted that, post-barrier in Toronto, there was a statistically significant increase in suicides by jumping from bridges other than the Bloor Street Viaduct (8.7 suicide rate per year rising to 14.2 per year).

There was, however, a decrease in both the overall rate of suicides in Toronto and the rate of suicides by means other than jumping in the post-barrier period.

The researchers conclude: "This research shows that constructing a barrier on a bridge with a high rate of suicide by jumping is likely to reduce or eliminate suicides at that bridge but it may not alter absolute suicide rates by jumping when there are comparable bridges nearby."

"This study reminds us that means restriction may not work everywhere, and that we have much to learn about the determinants of the choice of method in suicidal acts," writes David Gunnell from the University of Bristol and Matthew Miller from Harvard School of Public Health, in an accompanying editorial.

"Yet, where and when means restriction works, it may save more lives than other suicide prevention strategies, especially in children and young adults, who tend to act impulsively in fleeting suicidal crisis," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Suicide barriers may fail to cut suicide rates as people go elsewhere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706204707.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, July 7). Suicide barriers may fail to cut suicide rates as people go elsewhere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706204707.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Suicide barriers may fail to cut suicide rates as people go elsewhere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706204707.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins