Bridge to Nowhere

There follows a guest post by Professor Roger Watson and Dr Niall McCrae.

Suicide is always a tragic event and information is not easy to obtain. This is for good reason, to prevent ‘hot spots’ being advertised and to reduce copycat events. Nevertheless, any landmark with altitude attracts suicide attempts and very few survivals. Sadly, the Humber Bridge is one such spot and only the most notable are reported such as double suicides, for example, and attempted double suicides involving a mother and child.

Since the Humber Bridge opened in 1981 there have been over 200 suicides, which approximates to just below five annually. Merely five persons survived the fall. In the most recent complete annual figures we can find, from a 2019 study of suicides in Hull, three were attributed to jumping from the structure dubbed “the bridge to nowhere”. But the toll appears to have risen sharply under the COVID-19 regime.

In the last month alone there were six deaths from suicide on the Humber Bridge, many of them young people. This has prompted the closure of the footpaths and cycling commuters from Lincolnshire into East Yorkshire have to make special arrangements to cross the bridge to and from work. In none of the reports do we see any specific mention of the impact of lockdown; this is hardly surprising as the local newspapers have tended, like the mainstream media, to be “on message” regarding the need for COVID-19 restrictions. Were he still alive, we would be minded to consult Philip Larkin on this human calamity, and its callous cause.

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