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Bridge barriers

One of the most effective methods of preventing suicide is to give suicidal individuals time for the intense suicidal impulse to pass or time for someone to intervene with crisis support and resources.

About the Issue

Bridges and other publicly accessible areas of significant height pose a risk for suicide attempts. Barrier installation is a proven method of increasing this crucial time for individuals at risk for suicide by jumping. These barriers act as a delay or deterrent to an individual at risk, providing more time to get through the intense, often brief, moment of suicide crisis.

Chain link, plexiglass, steel mesh, steel balusters, and netting can be installed on bridges or other high areas to delay or prevent a suicide attempt. These barriers can be supplemented with resources such as signage listing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-8255) and other crisis hotline numbers or a phone to access emergency professionals.

Our policy position

AFSP recognizes that physical barriers are the most effective means of preventing suicides on bridges and other high structures. Barriers should be considered for new construction of bridges and other high places and when existing structures are being rehabilitated. Currently, AFSP is focused on supporting the passage of legislation that would provide federal funding for bridge barriers as well as working with state Departments of Transportation and state and municipal governments to establish regulation and funding of barriers.

You may request a copy of our issue brief, “Lethal Means Reduction: Bridge Barriers” by emailing [email protected].

Additional Resources

View AFSP Research Videos on lethal means reduction.

Visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to learn more about means restriction for suicide prevention.

To learn more about why means reduction is important, check out the Means Matter Campaign.