Approximately 800,000 people die world wide from suicide every year, but what you don’t hear about are the number of people who survive their attempts. Today on World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, you’ll read about one man’s attempt and the mission he’s on today to stop additional deaths.
One day in September of 1987, Steve Bouchard decided to end his life. Fueled by depression and alcohol, the family man had recently lost his new job after being unemployed for six previous months. Steve says he kissed his kids goodbye and headed straight for the Coronado Bridge in San Diego, crying all the way. He drove to the bridge’s highest peak, 240 feet above water and within seconds, leaped feet first into the water, plummeting at 70 mph. It was a decision he immediately regretted. Steve says he knew hitting the water would be like hitting concrete, so he maneuvered himself into a position that landed him on his backside. He suffered multiple broken ribs, fractured discs and a collapsed lung, with bruises on his heart and kidneys. The remarkable thing? Steve was alive. He opened his eyes to find witnesses above encouraging him to hang on. Steve spent just ten days in the hospital.
This month will mark thirty three years since his attempt and today he is a very vocal suicide prevention advocate who is also involved with the San Diego Coronado Bridge Collaborative which is on a mission to have suicide deterrents installed on the bridge. When interviewed by Heather Myers for KFMB, Steve said if you find yourself in that dark place to please reach out to a friend or family member, even the Suicide Prevention Hotline, but don’t go through with the act.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and in 2017 was the SECOND leading cause of death in young adults aged 10-24. Although mental health resources have become more available in the last several years, it still hasn’t convinced many lost souls to seek help. There is help AND hope available 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or texting HELLO to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Resources: San Diego Union Tribune, KFMB San Diego