Would these signs stop you from jumping from the GW Bridge?
A beautiful day in New Jersey. A day when people without care without a care in the world can look over the horizon and say “wow, New Jersey is really beautiful.” What a beautiful day. I’m lucky to be alive.
But what about people who have problems that they find too difficult to solve? The people who feel at the end of their ropes and see the bridge and consider jumping to be the only way out of their problems.
Unfortunately, there have been many whose lives ended on this bridge. So many that this bridge and others like it have become known as suicide bridges.
As a result of this, in 2017 an 11-foot-high fence connected to netting that forms a canopy over the pathway was installed beyond the traffic lanes. Until then the only barrier along the pathway was a barricade-high railing.
Now, about every quarter mile you’ll see signs which have been directed to try to discourage people from jumping. I had read about these when they were first installed, but I have never seen them in person.
And so, during a particularly traffic-laden ride to the city, I decided to take the bridge to save some time. And since traffic with stop and go, I had time to read pretty much every message.
They have some powerful sentiments on them like:
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.”
“Asking for help does not mean you are weak or broken.”
“Feeling hopeless? Help is just a phone call away.”
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.”
All the signs end with this statement:
“Actual words from someone who stood right where you stand and made the call.“
And there’s a phone number posted and phones placed strategically on the bridge for someone to call that number. But it got me thinking, if I were so desperate and determined to end it all, would this sign make me think twice about it?
No one knows what is in the mind of a person who is suicidal and God forbid any of us should ever feel that way. Could a friend talk you down? A stranger who happens to see you and figure out what you’re contemplating? Or, could one of these signs, posted by some traffic department somewhere, relay the message that you need at that very moment?
Give you the last shred of hope that can make you turn around and retreat back to your car to give life another shot? I wonder if these signs have ever worked. And hope we never have to see them tested. But if we do, and they make one person change their mind about suicide, I’m so glad they’re there.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite best friends anytime, anywhere and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.