Hotline sign

On Monday, The New London Day ran this story about Connecticut College leading a suicide prevention effort that would put signs on a city bridge – similar to what has been done on prominent bridges in other states – and on campus. The signs would read “You are not alone” and include a hotline number. Since no students have jumped from the bridge, but there have been a handful of attempts (both complete and incomplete) by locals in the last few years, it would appear that they are acting out of an abundance of caution.

These quotes in particular caught my eye:

The effectiveness of suicide prevention signs at bridges is unknown, said Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research at the American Federation for Suicide Prevention.

…She suggested that the college test the wording of the message on the signs it plans to install with focus groups comprised of those who have contemplated suicide.

“I wouldn’t want to put up a sign without checking the message,” she said.

I couldn’t help but be reminded that, only a few weeks ago, there was an especially contentious battle over prime messaging real estate — not a bridge, but space in the Capitol concourse. Both Connecticut College and Ms. Harkavy-Friedman demonstrate boatloads more common sense than The Group Formerly Known as Hemlock Society, who present slogans like “My Life, My Death, My Choice” and “Oh, to die on my terms” as dandy for school-age children. Test THAT on your focus group.

Speaking of The Day: if you haven’t already, you can still read Paul Choiniere’s excellent editorial ‘Assisted suicide bill deserves a speedy demise’ here.

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