SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The number of people younger than 25 who are coming to the Golden Gate Bridge to commit suicide has increased five-fold in the past 14 years, and Bridge District officials are announcing a plan to reach them.
The District is partnering with Crisis Text Line, a national nonprofit that provides free, 24/7 texting to people in crisis.
Crisis Text Line and the Golden Gate Bridge Patrol will work together to dispatch emergency services and bring those intending suicide to safety, GGB, District officials said.
Those in crisis who need help can text GGB to 741741.
"We know people are already at the bridge in crisis with their phones out, ready to text," Crisis Text Line Bay Area Director Libby Craig said. "In fact, prior to this partnership, Crisis Text Line had already had 94 conversations in which people mention the Golden Gate Bridge," Craig said.
Crisis Text Line supports 50,000 texters a month - 80 percent of them under 25 years old, Craig said.
Trained crisis counselors help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving and suggesting referrals, Craig said.
"When a person is at imminent risk of suicide and we don't think they can stay safe, our team works with local dispatch centers to send emergency services to that person," Craig said.
The new text line will supplement the work of the existing bridge patrols and phone hotlines, Bridge District spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.
The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District's Board of Directors will discuss the partnership at Friday's 10 a.m. meeting in the Administration office building near the Toll Plaza.
Board President Dick Grosboll, District General Manager Denis Mulligan and Craig will answer media questions 11 a.m. at the Welcome Center.
Ironworkers are installing new Crisis Text Line signs, District public information manager spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.
The District is proceeding with a $76 million suicide prevention project that includes a steel net that extends 20 below the roadway and 20 feet outward.
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