In December, the announcement of a delay in the installation of the suicide prevention net at the Golden Gate Bridge and the FCC’s unanimous vote to approve a new three digit National Suicide Prevention Hotline number, 988, led to a flurry of press inquiries at San Francisco Suicide Prevention (SFSP).

SFSP received requests from KRON 4, KTVU, the Los Angeles Times, SF Weekly, the Bay Area Reporter and Spanish radio station KIQI 1010. SFSP’s Lina Sheth, Van Hedwall and Meg Sierra were interviewed on related topics.

Suicide prevention sign on the east sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. The sign reads "Emergency phone and crisis counseling."

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) members voted unanimously to approve a new three-digit number, 988, as the new National Suicide Prevention Hotline number. 988 will help support access to crisis services and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health conditions. Felton Board member, Peter Rojo, who also served on SFSP’s board for decades before SFSP merged into Felton Institute, was elated with the news.

“We are beyond thrilled to have a designated number for crisis and mental health for all Americans across the country. We have been an advocate for many years to have a designated three digit number for our community. As the first hotline in the country, we continue to provide 24/7 confidential support for anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. In time, we hope the public will use 988 as the suicide prevention hotline, the way 911 is known as the emergency number.” – Peter Rojo, Felton Board Member

Implementation of 988 will occur over the next 18 months.

The installation of a net to save lives at the Golden Gate Bridge, known as the Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Deterrent Project, has been underway for about 18 months, but the bridge highway and transportation district announced in mid-December that the project will be delayed by up to two years. Officials reported that nearly 1,700 people have jumped since the bridge opened in 1937 and that bridge patrols to intervene and prevent people from harming themselves will continue. Former SFSP Executive Director Eve R. Meyer has been a leading advocate for installation of the metal net, which will be 20 feet below the sidewalk and extend 20 feet out from the bridge. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

For help, please call Felton Institute’s San Francisco Suicide Prevention Hotline at 415-781-0500 or 1-800-273-8255 or text MYLIFE to 741741.

SFSP - Felton Institute Logo

About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton is named for its social services pioneer and first executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency.

About San Francisco Suicide Prevention: Founded in 1962, San Francisco Suicide Prevention is the oldest community-based telephone crisis center in the United States. The agency provides emotional support and crisis intervention, answering more than 300 calls a day; has trained over 6,000 youth in the warning signs of suicide and risk-reduction tactics; and helped 200 community members process the loss of loved ones, ensuring that all members of the community are empowered with tools to help each other through moments of crisis. San Francisco Suicide Prevention has several 24-hour crisis hotlines.