Delaware’s Department of Transportation has erected suicide prevention signs on five New Castle County bridges as a deterrent to anyone who may be considering taking his or her own life.
The signs were the brainchild of State Rep. Valerie Longhurst.
“I spearheaded it because I’ve had a lot to do with suicide prevention in the State of Delaware. I’ve drafted legislation to put programs in all the schools for training for all staff members. This is an epidemic that just keeps growing and I feel it’s important that we address it because of the mental health issues that we have in the State of Delaware,” Longhurst said.
DelDOT communications director C.R. McLeod says Longhurst, an avid cyclist, was riding over the St. George’s Bridge when she noticed a new sign providing a suicide hotline number.
“[She] had actually come to the Department and asked us if we would be able to look at adding some of these signs to area bridges in support of suicide prevention awareness," said McLeod. "And September was actually Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.”
McLeod notes the suicide prevention signs were added on the Tyler McConnell Bridge, the Rising Sun Bridge, the Augustine Cutoff bridge, the I-95 Brandywine River Bridge and the I-495 Christina River Bridge.
There were already on the St. George’s Bridge.
The signs provide the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number that anyone can call if they are considering ending his or her own life. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
In 2017, 114 lives were lost to suicide in Delaware.