BART announces new suicide prevention program


George Miquilena

BART takes on a new program aiming to reduce suicide.

Mia Hogan, Staff Writer

Suicide is not the route.

In response to a large increase in suicides and suicide attempts, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has launched a new suicide intervention campaign.

With guidance from the Bay Area Suicide and Crisis Intervention Alliance (BASCIA), BART has planned a multi-pronged program that will be sticking around for while.

In 2013, there were five fatalities and one nearly fatal occurrence. The succeeding year, BART totaled 14 incidents and all of them resulted in injury or death.

So far this year, there have been a total of six incidents, five resulting in death. However, BART does not make a determination whether the incident was accidental or suicidal.

Junior Abbey Holbrook said, “Last year while I was waiting for the BART after a Giant’s game there was a suicide at a previous station. The faces of everyone around me dropped and once I was on the train, I was scared that the train would hit someone.”

With the success in Long Island Rail Road campaign, BART has adopted their method in hopes to decrease the number of suicides and attempts. BART centers their campaign on posting signage throughout stations with the slogan “suicide is not the route” publicizing the National Suicide Lifeline toll-free number.

BART, with BASCIA’s help, is planning to train personnel for suicide intervention and the circulation of multilingual, wallet-sized handouts with information to passengers about suicide warning signs and prevention resources.

“Having some sort of prevention will, in hopes, decrease the annual number of BART fatalities. I have friends who attend Gunn High School and in this school year, two students took their life by jumping in front of a train,” said senior Natalie Tussy.

In the near future, BART is considering to print suicide prevention messages on BART tickets once the existing stock runs out. To increase measures, they are looking at the possibility of installing screen doors on the station platform.

“By taking measures to show that BART cares about one’s life as demonstrated by their posters and statements printed on tickets, I believe the number of deaths will decrease,” said junior Melody Shanahan.

For more information on BART’s new program, click here.