An analysis of the impact of suicide prevention messages and memorials on motorway bridges
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AbstractRecently there has been activity at public locations where people have died by suicide, including the erection of suicide prevention messages and memorials (decorations). This research looks at the impact of these decorations and associated media coverage of the decorations on suicidal behaviour at bridges. Incidents (n=160) of suicidal behaviour on 26 bridges across motorways in England were analysed. Overall, there was no significant difference in the proportion of incidents pre-decoration versus post-decoration (p-value=0.55). The incident rates were not significantly different pre- and post-decoration (p=0.46). Only one bridge had statistically significantly more incidents post-decoration and media reporting (p=0.03). However, following correction for multiple testing there was no significant difference in pre and post-incident rates at any of the bridges. In total, 58% of bridges had a greater frequency of incidents when decorations were absent, however this proportion was not statistically significant (p=0.41). Further research is required to establish how suicide prevention messages are perceived. There does not appear to be any benefit, but it often generates media coverage which has been shown to increase risk. Therefore, a precautionary approach is recommended on the use of suicide prevention messages as an intervention at bridges.
CitationO'Neill, S., Potts, C., Bond, R.R. et al. (2021) An analysis of the impact of suicide prevention messages and memorials on motorway bridges. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 51 (4), pp. 657-664. https://doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12736
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Description© 2021 The Authors. Published by Wiley. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12736
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/