Monday, 30 November 2009

TTC suicides

The Toronto Sun's fourth day of coverage of TTC suicide stats leaves us wondering what mental health professionals have to say about the motivations behind very public suicides.

Why do so many people inflict their traumatic and indelible deaths on TTC drivers and passengers when they can off themselves quietly and privately with a bottle of pills?

The TTC suicide stats the Sun fought to have released clarify all of those brief radio reports of subway shutdowns aired over the years.

You would say to yourself "another suicide" when hearing of subway shutdowns, but you didn't keep count. The actual numbers are much higher than estimated.

Kudos to the Sun for removing that veil of secrecy. Time now for proposals to reduce deaths by subway, including trains slowing to a crawl when approaching each station.

Has the TTC considered emergency alarms at both ends and in the middle of each station, with warnings of substantial fines for misuse? There are emergency stop strips inside subway cars, why not exterior alarms linked to the control centre?

If used for a fall of suicide jump, the extra seconds could prevent deaths. If misused, no harm done, except for the loss of a few seconds in the service schedule.

Substantial fines for misuse could help the TTC with its annual budget woes.

Meanwhile, other secretive stats we'd like to see the Sun pursue are the number of suicides attributed to all forms of gambling in Ontario, including casinos. We have heard those stats would be equally staggering.

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