MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Debbie Korell flips through her wedding album, remembering her husband Todd.
- Nearly 250 people have taken their lives at Skyway Bridge
- Dept. of Transportation to add suicide prevention netting to bridge
- Project is expected to be completed by this summer
- PREVIOUS: Suicide Prevention Netting to be Installed on Skyway Bridge
"We got married at home right in front of our fire place," she said. "So in order to get from the wedding to the reception, all we had to do was turn in a circle in the living room."
Only pictures are left now. On March 10, 2010, Todd got up in the middle of the night, drove to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and jumped.
"We had such a fabulous life together. And that’s why I don’t understand why he chose to want to end it," Korell said.
According to our partners at the Tampa Bay Times, nearly 250 people have taken their own lives by jumping off the Skyway Bridge.
"Anything and everything that we can do to deter people from jumping from the bridge should be done, and should have been done a long time ago,” Korell said.
And now it is.
The Florida Department of Transportation announced last week plans to move forward with a $3 million project to add suicide prevention netting along the sides of the bridge.
It’s a decision mental health professionals are applauding, saying it will open up an important conversation.
“The more that we can teach our children and our adolescence and our young adults that it is OK to not feel OK, it is OK to ask for help, then I think we will finally get ahead of this suicide epidemic that we have in this country,” said Clara Reynolds, President and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
As for Korell, she’s thrilled to see action being taken. She believes the netting will deter people from acting before thinking.
"I think a lot of people jump off the bridge because it’s easy. It’s a quick, easy decision,” she said.
Both Debbie and Clara emphasize the most important way to prevent suicide is to erase the stigma that comes with it.
The netting will extend 8 feet above the concrete barriers that are already in place, and will be made of steel.
The project is expected to be completed by this summer.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at 211 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.