A grassroots effort to add a barrier to prevent people from jumping to their deaths from the Coronado Bay Bridge received the support of the Coronado City Council Tuesday.
The Coronado Bridge Collaborative - Suicide Prevention wants to research barrier options for the iconic bridge that has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country.
Cari McLaughlin’s brother, Bryan Bell, jumped to his death from the span eight months ago. She believes if he was unable to take his own life that day, the family may have been able to get him help.
“He’s not the only one. The day after he did it, somebody was up there,” she said. “It’s just so easily accessible.”
The side rails of the bridge are just 36 inches, she said. McLaughlin also said the phone positioned for those feeling suicidal was not functioning on the day her brother walked across the bridge.
McLaughlin was among the supporters who showed up to the council meeting Tuesday night wearing yellow ribbons and sharing stories of heartache.
Al Molano of Bankers Hill also spoke to the council. His 23-year-old step-daughter, Lisette, suffered from alcohol abuse and depression.
He said he doesn't want to see any other families go through the heartbreak that he and his family have suffered.
"I will do anything to save another life," Molano said. "I can't see how anyone would want to go through this especially when we can prevent this."
Several research projects show suicide barriers have proven successful in not only reducing jumping deaths at the site, but in the surrounding areas, as well.
The vote by the Coronado council gives the project a symbolic head start. Unlike the $76 million project to install nets on the Golden Gate bridge, this one has a long way to go.
There were no details offered on what the barrier would look like or how much it would cost.
San Diego County suicide rates are approximately 20 percent above those statewide, officials reported last year, with an annual increase of six percent each year for three straight years.
The county offers resources for those feeling suicidal thoughts or know someone who is threatening suicide.
Some warning signs of suicide include talking of hurting or killing oneself, increased alcohol or drug use, isolation from family and friends and daring or risk-taking behavior.
For more information click here or call the county's Crisis Hotline at (888) 724-7240.