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Man Leaps from Freeway Overpass Marking 3rd Public Suicide This Year
By Jorge Casuso
May 13, 2021 -- A man jumped to his death from a freeway overpass Thursday afternoon, marking the third public suicide in Santa Monica this year.
Officers responded to a dispatch call shortly before 2 p.m. reporting a man "hugging the guardrail" of the overpass on the 400 block of the 10 Freeway, police said.
"The male then jumped over onto the westbound lanes, striking a vehicle as he landed," said SMPD spokesman Lt. Rudy Flores.
Santa Monica Fire Department personnel arrived at the scene and pronounced the man dead, Flores said.
The other two public suicides in the beach city this year took place when the victims jumped from parking structures at Santa Monica Place mall.
On January 11, a man jumped to his death from Parking structure 7. On February 27, a woman jumped from Parking Structure 8, marking the seventh suicide from a Downtown Santa Monica parking structure in two and a half years.
There were five public suicides in Santa Monica last year. Tuesday's death marked the 16th public suicide in the city since February 2018.
According to the latest Los Angeles County Health data, there were 891 suicide deaths -- both in public and private places -- in 2017 in the county of more than 10 million.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that suicides nationwide dropped last year from 47,511 deaths in 2019 to 44,834, a 5.6 percent decrease.
The CDC reported that suicide was the 11th leading cause of death last year.
In March the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) reported that the number of calls to its crisis hotline increased in the first two and a half months of this year, compared to the same period last year.
A total of 3,006 calls were made to the center's hotline between January 1 and March 15 of this year, nearly double the 1,540 calls made last year.
Of the total calls this year, 867 were related to suicide, compared to 100 last year, the center reported.
The greatest number of calls took place last September with 1,187, followed by February of this year with 1,126 calls.
The most common reasons for calling the hotline were anxiety and depression, stressful life events, interpersonal concerns, mood concerns and referral services.
"If you or a member of your family are struggling during this time of isolation, please reach out for help from a mental health professional," police officials said.
Help can be had by calling (800) 854-7771 or by texting LA to 741741. Additional resources from the LA County Department of Mental Health are available at dmh.lacounty.gov.
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