I refrained from taking a picture on my phone of the fire engine and swarm of police making their way to the location, I don’t want to be one of those people. I was walking with a friend over the high level bridge in Newcastle, a very tall and beautiful bridge over the River Tyne, in fact the worlds oldest dual purpose bridge for rail and road transportation.
As we were walking, two policemen were standing on the foot passenger side of the waist high railings, one on either side of the suicidal person, sitting on the ledge on the other side of the railings. We didn’t stop, we were on the opposite side of the narrow road but caugh a glimpse and paused mid conversation to confirm what we were watching unfolding. As we kept walking across the bridge we were continuously walking past oncoming officers on foot and could see the flashing lights of a fire engine and police cars at the entrance in the distance. The lights made more prominent as the footpath is underneath the railway and therefore more of a tunnel.
There have been two suicides in my family, so it is something I can relate to more than some. I cannot stand hecklers and members of the public that will shout abuse and complain at the delay a suicidal person causes. If someone is thinking of jumping off a bridge do you think they are in the right frame of mind to consider being a ‘time waster’?!
My Auntie killed herself in the same fashion shortly after I was born. My uncle felt this was the only option two years ago. Both my mothers brother and sister ended their lives in my lifetime. So suicide isn’t something I disagree with, because I can comprehend that some people need it as a relief when life is simply too unbearable to experience any further. People that aren’t selfish, or unloving. Quite the opposite. To know that you will be leaving family behind must be heartbreaking.
As mental illness is losing it’s stigma and there is more and more awareness of the various conditions hopefully ‘jumpers’ will be shown more empathy and less anger.