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Seoul suicide bridge seeks new image

Wednesday, Oct 03, 2012 - 01:48

Oct. 3 - A bridge across the River Han, known as favourite spot for suicides in Seoul, is aiming to rebrand itself as a bridge of life to help reduce the number of people leaping to their deaths. Sarah Charlton reports.

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EDITORS' NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The Mapo Bridge in the South Korean capital has become notorious for the wrong reasons. In the past five years it's seen over 100 suicide attempts. But to avoid scenes like this, the authorities are seeking a rebrand. Positive pictures and slogans now adorn the bridge, with messages such as: "Worries are nothing". SOUNDBITE: PARK HAUNG-JAE, SEOUL CITY GOVERNMENT OFFICER, SAYING (Korean): "At first we considered constructing a wall, but that is just a Band-Aid. In fact, more people came to the river after screen doors were installed at subway stations. Now we need a more emotional way to change their minds, so we decorated the bridge." South Korea has an alarming suicide rate - with more than 40 people a day ending their lives. The Suicide Prevention Union welcomed the initiative on the bridge, saying it could help change the minds of those considering suicide. Some residents in the capital agreed. But others said it wasn't a long-term solution. SOUNDBITE: 45-YEAR-OLD SEOUL RESIDENT, JUNG YEON-HAN, SAYING (Korean): "I doubt its effectiveness. I think the government should come up with good policies to lower the suicide rate. People's lives are getting harder and some are pinched by poverty. Just attaching these messages on the bridge will not prevent suicide. We need fundamental measures to solve the problem." The local authorities are testing the initiative for a year. If successful, it may be rolled out in other areas as well.

Seoul suicide bridge seeks new image

Wednesday, Oct 03, 2012 - 01:48

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