Taos has H.O.P.E.

The Taos News - - PEOPLE TO WATCH -

Vol­un­teers tie notes of sup­port and hope to the Río Grande Gorge Bridge. The “Notes of Hope” pro­ject is spear­headed by lo­cal teens and or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Help Outreach Taos and Com­mon Grounds. It is among the ef­forts the com­mu­nity is mak­ing to ad­dress sui­cides at the bridge.

While the num­ber of peo­ple who take their lives by jump­ing off the bridge rep­re­sents a small per­cent of the to­tal sui­cides in Taos County (most peo­ple use guns), it re­mains high pro­file be­cause of the ex­ten­sive re­sources the county ex­pends to re­cover re­mains, the risks to first re­spon­ders, and the emo­tional im­pact on fire­fight­ers, search and res­cue vol­un­teers and law en­force­ment who help.

The state has stud­ied var­i­ous pro­pos­als over the last decade for in­stalling safety nets or erect­ing a taller bar­rier along the bridge. Both are ex­pen­sive propo­si­tions and some op­pose any struc­tural change be­cause of the im­pact on the view from the bridge. Each year the pro­pos­als stall. Mean­while, more than 115 peo­ple have taken their lives at the bridge in the last two decades. It was one Taos mother and friends who started the Gorge Bridge Safety Net­work af­ter her son leaped off the bridge and died.

For those in the Taos com­mu­nity who’ve lost loved ones at the bridge, any­thing that makes it harder for peo­ple to kill them­selves is worth the money.

With a new gover­nor and a lit­tle more money in state cof­fers this year, plus the pos­si­bil­ity Congress will put some ad­di­tional fed­eral money to­ward in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, per­haps 2019 is the year some­thing will fi­nally be done to make the bridge a harder place for peo­ple to take their own lives.

Morgan Timms/The Taos News

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.