A local teenager is spending her spring break launching a suicide prevention campaign near the train tracks in the North County.
Kassidy Kanner, 18, spent Monday afternoon walking around Del Mar, posting signs that read: "There is Help" followed by a crisis hotline number.
“We're putting up signs, we're just really trying to spread the word and get out as many signs up as possible today,” Kanner told NBC 7. “We’ve posted signs in Leucadia, Cardiff, Solana Beach, and Del Mar.”
The teenager decided to launch the campaign last month, after her boyfriend witnessed an apparent suicide on the tracks near Leucadia Boulevard.
He was so affected by the tragedy, she decided to take action.
“It just happened so close to our home. It was a terrible scene to have seen and obviously you knew what had happened,” recalled Kanner. “I want there to be actual permanent signs, not paper.”
According to the North County Transit District (NCTD), this year alone 11 people have been struck by the train. Six of them died. It’s unclear if the deaths were due to suicide attempts or accidents.
Through a statement sent to NBC 7 , Sean Loofbourrow, NCTD’s Chief of Safety said the team is considering ways to prevent more deaths along the tracks.
“NCTD is considering posting signs along our property to show that there are resources available at the national, state and local levels for those who might be considering harming themselves,” said Loofbourrow.
Hoping to gather enough support, Kanner started an online petition to push for permanent suicide prevention signs, similar to those installed on the Coronado Bridge.
“If they're thinking about it, they can see the number and say, ok I can call the number if I need help or maybe that sign will even be a sign to not do what they're thinking of doing.”
For Jessica Kann and Brittany Gaie, the cause is personal.
Last October, they lost their best friend Zoe, when she decided to end her life on the railroad tracks. Zoe was only 16-years-old.
“She called us that day and she had broken up with her boyfriend,” recalled Gaie. “I feel like the only reason she did that was that a lot of things had gone wrong that day, there was a lot of emotions built up that day.”
Kann hopes that through her involvement in this campaign, she can honor her friend’s life and help save someone else’s.
“They are looking for a sign that they are loved and that someone really cares about them,” Kann told NBC 7. “Sometimes it's just an impulse decision and they don't really think about it. If you see something that will make you stop and think about it, all the effects that it has, it can really maybe save a life.”
The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.