From TED Vancouver, 2014.
With an ever-increasing death toll of over 1,600 suicides since its construction, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California has become one of the most popular destinations in the world to take one’s own life. People travel from all over the country and planet to commit suicide by jumping off of what is arguably the most famous bridge of all-time. Some would suggest that the Brooklyn Bridge is more iconic, but even as a New Yorker, I’d say the Golden Gate takes the cake.
One of the best documentaries I have ever seen — and I’ve seen a lot of great docs — deals with this very subject. The Bridge, directed by Eric Steel, was shot over a one year period in 2004 and chronicles the lives of a few troubled souls, their stories and the families and friends that were affected as well. While it is far from an uplifting watch, there is still a lot of beauty in its presentation. I can’t recommend this documentary highly enough — it is that good.
Take the plunge after the talk by Sergeant Kevin Briggs to watch The Bridge in full. It’s not the best as far as video quality, but it’s a reliable link that’s been up for a few years now.
This is one of the more memorable and important TED talks to be released so far this year, and it definitely needs to be watched by everyone. Many people don’t know what signs to watch out for, and simply can’t understand severe depression and other mental illnesses that would cause someone to take their own life. In this talk, Sergeant Briggs shares his stories of the Golden Gate, and gives some advice on dealing with the subject of suicide as well.
From the Ted YouTube channel:
For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.