Effect of a barrier at Bloor Street Viaduct on suicide rates in Toronto: natural experiment.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE:To determine whether rates of suicide changed in Toronto after a barrier was erected at Bloor Street Viaduct, the bridge with the world's second highest annual rate of suicide by jumping after Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. DESIGN:Natural experiment. SETTING:City of Toronto and province of Ontario, Canada; records at the chief coroner's office of Ontario 1993-2001 (nine years before the barrier) and July 2003-June 2007 (four years after the barrier). PARTICIPANTS:14 789 people who completed suicide in the city of Toronto and in Ontario. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:Changes in yearly rates of suicide by jumping at Bloor Street Viaduct, other bridges, and buildings, and by other means. RESULTS:Yearly rates of suicide by jumping in Toronto remained unchanged between the periods before and after the construction of a barrier at Bloor Street Viaduct (56.4 v 56.6, P=0.95). A mean of 9.3 suicides occurred annually at Bloor Street Viaduct before the barrier and none after the barrier (P<0.01). Yearly rates of suicide by jumping from other bridges and buildings were higher in the period after the barrier although only significant for other bridges (other bridges: 8.7 v 14.2, P=0.01; buildings: 38.5 v 42.7, P=0.32). CONCLUSIONS:Although the barrier prevented suicides at Bloor Street Viaduct, the rate of suicide by jumping in Toronto remained unchanged. This lack of change might have been due to a reciprocal increase in suicides from other bridges and buildings. This finding suggests that Bloor Street Viaduct may not have been a uniquely attractive location for suicide and that barriers on bridges may not alter absolute rates of suicide by jumping when comparable bridges are nearby.

journal_name

BMJ

authors

Sinyor M,Levitt AJ

doi

10.1136/bmj.c2884

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2010-07-06 00:00:00

pages

c2884

eissn

0959-8138

issn

1756-1833

journal_volume

341

pub_type

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