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new page: 12.31.18
Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge Suicide Prevention Project
by Normandy Piccolo •

   The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, better known to the Tampa Bay Area as the ‘Sunshine Skyway Bridge’ was built September 6, 1954 and then rebuilt in 1982, after the tragic collision of 1980.
   From the moment it was built, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has been steeped in tragedy. On May 9, 1980, the bridge was partially destroyed when the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a pier during a storm, causing 1,200 feet of the bridge to collapse into Tampa Bay, resulting in 35 deaths.
   But, prior to the collision, the bridge was already claiming lives. And not due to traffic accidents. By suicide. Since 1954, people have been going to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to jump to their death. Thus, giving the Sunshine Skyway Bridge the nickname ‘The Suicide Bridge’.
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay has taken measures to try and prevent desperate people from jumping by installing call boxes which connect directly to someone in the Crisis Center. But that is clearly not enough, because as of 2017, it was reported by, that not one ‘jumper’ picked up the phone and asked for help. And the number of people jumping off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge continues to increase.
   The Crisis Center and the media rarely cover this issue out of fear that "it might give someone who is feeling suicidal the idea to jump to their death". Well, it is a fact that issues cannot be dealt with, let alone resolved unless you put a light on it and talk about it. The fact that the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has earned the nickname ‘The Suicide Bridge’ makes it no mystery to folks in the Tampa Bay Area. So, why not bring this issue to the forefront and help reach those who are in the throes of a crisis and need that last reason to stay and not end their life?
   And so, the ‘Save A Life’ Project was born. The purpose: To offer a person in a life crisis encouragement, get them to pause and think and perhaps reach out for help or remain on the bridge long enough for help to arrive. This may be achievable by placing signs where they are clearly visible that reach out to those who are crying out for help.
   If you have a bridge in your area that is being used by ‘jumpers’, we strongly encourage you to download a copy of the 'Save A Life' Project and accompanying letter, and send it to your local Crisis Center, City Mayor's Office, State Governor, Department of Transportation, Local Media (TV/Newspaper), State Highway Patrol and the Attorney General of Your State. (links)
   Please note: This letter/project are for bridges constructed with jersey barriers, but regardless, can still be tailored to fit the type of bridge in your area. If there are not Call Boxes available on the bridge, talk to you local Crisis Center about getting them installed.
   I say in my book, Bullied Dying to Fit In, (youtube) "Words can lift you up." It is amazing how much power words have. It is amazing the difference a kind or supportive word can make to someone in a crisis.

Remember…Life Always Matters.
Save A Life Bridge Suicide Prevention Project  pdf file
Save A Life Bridge Suicide Prevention Project Letter  pdf file
suicide bridge notes: leaving notes of positivity on bridges.
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