Monday, November 30, 2020

The Tragic Underside of Paradise: Suicide in Coronado

When driving into Coronado across the San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, one can’t help but notice the absolute splendor from such an awe-inspiring vantage point. Traveling into the Crown City offers a beautiful view – the iconic Hotel Del Coronado peeking through the treetops, the myriad of sailboats positioned in the water, the Pacific Ocean in the distance. But ironically, the view from atop the bridge isn’t always one that brings joy. Since it opened in 1969, more than 250 suicides have occurred from the bridge. It is the third deadliest “suicide bridge” in the United States, trailing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Seattle’s Aurora Bridge. In fact, as recently as this week, reported that a man on the bridge was taken into custody on September 16 by local law enforcement. It is an all too common reminder that the community is often touched by tragedy. It is a tragic reality among an otherwise idyllic location.

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, so to honor those who have been affected by suicide, is publishing a series of articles that will examine the facts versus myths of suicide, warning signs and resources for help. We will discuss from a local level the role the Coronado Bridge has played in the number of suicides in the area and potential solutions for helping to prevent future deaths.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 38,364 suicides were reported in 2010, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death among Americans. Risk factors include mental disorders (including depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder and alcohol or substance abuse), previous suicide attempt, family history of attempted or completed suicide, and serious medical condition or pain. However, it is important to note that not all individuals who display risk factors engage in suicidal behavior.

Warning signs are often visible and being able to recognize those signs can most certainly help save a live. It is important to remember that suicide is preventable. Warning signs include:

• Talking about wanting to kill themselves or talking about a specific plan to do so
• Feeling hopeless, trapped, and unable to escape from an intolerable situation
• Losing interest in things
• Intense anxiety and/or panic attacks
• Insomnia

If you suspect someone you know is at risk for suicide, take it seriously. Studies show that between 50% and 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone of their intention. Ask questions and encourage him to seek professional counseling. Help them schedule an appointment and if they will allow it, attend the appointment with them.

If you are suffering, please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

This story is the first part of a series discussing suicide prevention. To view them all, click here.

Photo credit: Donna


Mary Douglas

Staff Writer

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