Golden Gate Bridge Suicides - Jumpers and Families
When it comes to suicide, there are two kinds of survivors. The first are those people who survive a suicide attempt. The second are those who survive the death of a loved one’s suicide.
The vast majority of people who survive a suicide attempt don’t go on to kill themselves. Despite the common misperception that suicidal people are so intent on ending their lives that they will resort to any lethal means, the fact is that most have a preferred method. If that method isn’t available to them, they don’t try something else; instead, they choose to live.
According to the American Association of Suicidology, up to 100 people—family members, friends, schoolmates, and coworkers—are personally affected by each suicide. Loved ones are left emotionally shattered, and oftentimes end up contemplating suicide themselves. Whatever pain people are feeling that leads them to kill themselves, it rarely ends when the person dies. On the contrary, it is transferred to the living.
With 40,000 suicides in the United States per year, that means at least 240,000 people every year lose a family member to suicide. A death by suicide is sudden and sometimes confusing to all surviving family and friends. They have to deal with the consequences of that—emotionsl trauma with feelings of anger, shame, and guilt on top of the grief, loneliness, and despair that any kind of death generates. There may be added trauma for the person who first discovers a completed suicide. And there may be little support from within the network of family and friends.
The impact of suicide on society is deep, too. All of us lose out on the skills or potential skills that people who end their lives prematurely have or could have developed—doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, artists, caregivers, and more. It’s in everyone’s best interests that suicides are prevented.