Advocates call on NYS Bridge Authority to install measures to prevent suicides at bridges

As part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, local leaders on Thursday urged the New York State Bridge Authority to vote to authorize funding to build restriction fencing on all five of their bridges.

Emily Young

Sep 14, 2023, 10:00 PM

Updated 255 days ago

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Lawmakers and suicide prevention advocates are calling on the New York State Bridge Authority to do more to prevent suicide attempts on its bridges.
"Two years ago, I received a call no family member should ever have to receive," remembers Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce. "From a stranger no less. A beloved family member had just ended their life on the Bear Mountain Bridge."
Since that day, 11 more people have ended their lives in the same way, off the five bridges in the Hudson Valley operated by the New York State Bridge Authority.
"We know that barriers, signs, telephone hotlines, bridge patrols, and staff training, research shows that the most effective prevention is the barriers that physically restrict access, " says Maria Idoni, area director at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention .
"Studies show that fencing or means restriction on bridges are 90% effective in deterring suicides," says state Sen. Pete Harckham.
As part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, local leaders on Thursday urged the New York State Bridge Authority to vote to authorize funding to build restriction fencing on all five of their bridges. They include the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, the Mid Hudson, the Kingston-Rhinecliff and the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
"The cost to do all the bridges will range anywhere from $10 million to $60 million," Harckham says.
Leaders say they'll create legislation mandating the fencing if the Bridge Authority fails to approve funding.
The New York State Bridge Authority said in a statement that it is committed to the issue of mental health awareness, as well as working with state partners to keep New Yorkers safe.


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