Golden Gate Bridge district hopes texting will help reduce teen suicides

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's been a disturbing increase in the number of young people contemplating suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge.

There's now a new idea for a life-saving service that is right in our hands.

If you have to reach teenagers, what better way than through their cellphones?

The plan is to post the number people can text if they are here and thinking about jumping. A crisis counselor will text them, give them hope and a reason not to jump.

They are focusing on teens because they are coming to this bridge more than ever before.

The captain for security at the Golden Gate Bridge said just this week, a 19-year-old jumped and they pulled a 16-year-old who was about to jump to safety.

"Now, in the last few years, the number of people under the age of 19 that come out here is five times greater than it was as recently as 2007," Capt. Lisa Locati said.

"We already know that teens are on their phones in crisis at the bridge. We've already had 94 conversations that mention the Golden Gate Bridge on the crisis text line. People are already messaging us and we want to bring even more support to the bridge through having our number up on the signs there," Crisis Text Line Executive Director Libby Craig said.

They are presenting these disturbing new facts to the board on Friday. The signs with the phone number are going up but they are giving the information to the board members to loop them in and make them aware in case they want to stud this further.

The line is available for all age groups but it seems to be the preferred way for teens to communicate. They say 80 percent of the texts that come in to that text line are under the age of 25.

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