THE NET is a short documentary that shines a light on the personal loss, sacrifice, and perseverance of those whose loved ones were taken from them through suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge and how they have created a network of support to help each other recover the joy of living.
THE NET follows three families who have lost someone to the Golden Gate Bridge. These families each have their own individual projects that help them recover, whether it be shaman ceremonies on the bridge, creating a Suicide Barrier foundation, or researching the cost effectiveness of a suicide deterrent on the GGB. The film seeks to raise awareness of the issue on suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge and get people thinking about the support systems that are in place concerning suicide.
This guide is designed to help foster discussion about suicide and suicide prevention, healing and support for families and friends.
- What affected you the most over the course of the film?
Molly Roberts says "There is a taboo of suicide and that is historical. If you say I have somebody commit suicide, the room goes silent"
- What are some of the misunderstandings or judgments surrounding the issue of suicide?
- In what ways can burning a replica of the bridge be healing to the families who lost a loved there?
"It's not just the people who are dying. It's all those people who watched it. It's worthwhile to do this, to preserve life for the people who are jumping but it's worthwhile also, to preserve the emotional life of the people who are also involved in this and the families as well" -Molly Roberts
- Besides the people who hurt themselves, who else is affected when someone takes (or attempts to take) their lives?
- What are the ways that society "pays a price?"
The suicides on the GGB are not publicized in the paper in order to prevent copycats.
- How is it helpful in preventing more suicides?
- How is it harmful?
- What are some other ways of preventing suicide? In general and on the GGB?
The Eifel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York both have successful suicide deterrents.
- What are some of the factors that have prevented a similar system from being placed on the Golden Gate Bridge?
- Do you think arguments for aesthetic integrity outweigh the need for a suicide prevention deterrent on the bridge?
- All other methods of suicide in San Francisco such as guns, poison and death by hanging have dropped in frequency over the years while jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge has steadily increased. What could be the reasons for this?
- A large majority of people who jump from the bridge had a history of mental illness, such as depression, bi-polar disease, PTSD and schizophrenia. What do you think are some barriers to mental health treatment and how can it be improved?
- The cost of constructing the net would be 50 million dollars. The Bridge Rail Foundations main method of acquiring those funds has been to lobby their state government. Can you think of any other ways to raise the funds?
- What are some of the ways we can break the silence around suicide?
Bridge Rail Foundation
The vision of the Bridge Rail Foundation is to fight the issue of suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge and their strategy can help both the Bay Area community and other communities with suicide-prone bridges. They are asking for a simple amendment to the Federal Transportation Act that will allow, not require, local authorities to apply for federal funds to add suicide deterrent barriers to their problem bridges. They believe this will resolve the problem for the Golden Gate Bridge and end decades of tragedy at this National Monument.
On August 7th, 1937, Harold Wobber, a World War I veteran, was the first recorded person to jump over the Golden Gate Bridge and commit suicide.
It takes four seconds to fall the 220 feet from the Golden Gate Bridge to the waters of the San Francisco Bay below. In that brief instant, a falling body can reach speeds of 75 m.p.h. The impact is almost always fatal."
"Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer of the bridge, was five feet tall and he wanted to be able to see over the rail, and thus changed the original planned height from 5½ feet to 4 feet."
Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can't be forced or hurried - and there is no "normal" timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it's important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
University of California survey's finding that nine out of 10 people prevented from jumping off the Golden Gate were still alive years later or had died of natural causes, despite the rationale that a barrier would prompt them only to "go somewhere else to end it."
In 2008, bridge district officials finally voted to add a suicide deterrent to the bridge: a marine-grade stainless steel net that will stretch 20 feet below the walkways. It won't be much different than the net that the bridge's chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, installed to protect workers during construction - a net that saved 19 men.
Suicide barriers are in use at other bridges around the world and data shows corresponding reductions in the number of suicides
"Over the years officials have made moves against suicides, including adding crisis-counseling telephones on the bridge in 1994. Bridge patrols were started in 1996. The span also has security cameras. But all of these countermeasures have not stopped the steady flow of desperate people from jumping off. Only a handful have survived."
The Bridge Rail Foundation has one simple goal - install the safety net on the Golden Gate Bridge and stop the suicides. Our Foundation grows out of direct experience with bridge suicides - our board includes individuals who have had family and friends jump from the bridge, and experts in mental health, law and public affairs. We have come together to focus public attention on the Bridge suicide problem and see that the public is fully informed of the issue and that the suicides stop.
The Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular site for suicide.
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ELIANNA BASS was born in Los Angeles and moved up to San Francisco to study cinema. From an early age, she has shown a love of film. She focuses on production where she enjoys immersing herself in all aspects of filmmaking processes, and can clap one hell of a slate. She works entirely too much, but on her free time enjoys spending time out in the sun, being active lying in bed watching everything Netflix has to offer.
MAIRA MEMMI has always had a huge passion for films and the art of filmmaking, ever since she started watching old movies as a kid. In the spring of 2013 she produced "Lost in the Dark", "Red Run", "The Night America Kept me Warm", and "Worst Date Ever". She currently has a marketing certificate and graduated with a BA in Cinema from San Francisco State University in May 2013. She will continue to hone her skills in producing, by working on a handful of movies and starting an independent production company with other experienced filmmakers.
KATELYN ROBERTS has had an interest in suicide prevention on the Golden Gate Bridge ever since her involvement with the Please Don't Jump movement in 2010. Before then, she'd been majoring in Theater at Northern Arizona University, suppressing her two great loves- Cinema and San Francisco- for reasons that seem completely ridiculous today. Since making the move, she's immersed herself in documentary filmmaking and screenwriting, but enjoys every aspect of the production process. She also works as a San Francisco Tour Guide and loves imposing her great knowledge of the city's quirky history on tourists that admittedly are asking for it. In the future, she intends to keep making films that inspire change and compassion and hopes that she's always lucky enough to collaborate with people that are half as hard-working and dedicated as the fellow filmmakers-turned-friends that made this film with her.
ROBERTO "ROBBIE" HERRERA is a filmmaker born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an aspiring producer, his passion for cinema and making films has lead to creating films that have gone to various film festivals around the world. With such works as "The Hours Between Minutes", "Red Run", and "Last Words" among many others, he brings his own charismatic spirit both on and off set. He received a BA in cinema production from San Francisco State University in May of 2013 and hopes to pursue a career in independent filmmaking, striving to keep making films to the best of his abilities.
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