Stimulate US: Paying for anti-suicide fence on Ohio bridge

In what seems like a headline from The Onion, Ohio has directed $1.5 million of its stimulus money toward the construction of an anti-suicide barrier on the All American Bridge in Akron Ohio. The bridge, which has seen three suicides in the past two years, will get the new fencing as part of a larger bridge renovation that will contribute 240 jobs to the Akron area. Despite being required on all newly constructed bridges the addition of anti-suicide barriers to existing bridges, including the oft-jumped from Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, is controversial.

Opponents of adding suicide fencing to existing structures argue that the barriers will only shift the problem to another venue or means of suicide. But research suggests otherwise. Mental health experts claim that making it harder to commit suicide increases the chance that people will begin to think rationally and seek help rather than end their life. The numbers back this claim up; in fact, one study found that only 6% of individuals pulled from bridges went on to commit suicide by other means.