Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Suicide Prevention at Our National Parks

This Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 photograph provided by the Colorado National Monument shows a 1987 Dodge van that got stuck on a rock overhang , near Grand Junction, Colo., after the driver sent the vehicle off a cliff in an apparent suicide attempt. The 34-year-old male driver survived the incident. But park officials said that 27 people attempted suicide at the national monument last year, which has prompted administrators to train staff at entrances and visitor centers in suicide prevention

So they’re being trained in suicide prevention. Can you imagine how that conversation is going to sound at the park gate?

Park Officer: Welcome to the Colorado National Monument.

Tourist: Thanks, we’d like a ticket for the day

Park Officer: Just the day huh? Are you feeling lonely and blue? Do you have a history of suicidal tendencies? Do you watch a lot of reality TV?

Tourist: What has that got to do with a park ticket?

Park Officer: You’re standing on the edge of the canyon. Are you thinking:
a. What a beautiful view.
b. I’ll jump on the count of three
c. I wonder why the Bee Gees retired

Tourist: I’m not answering that, this is ridiculous

Park Officer: Sir, excuse me for saying but you look like your ready for an Evel Kneivel lead foot plunge off the side of the nearest cliff with your whole family screaming behind you. I cannot allow you to enter.

Tourist: But I want to see the canyon

Park Officer: We have these beautiful life like brochures and back in town there is a movie of the whole canyon for those with suicidal tendencies. Ask your doctor if movies are right for you… Good day…

53 comments:

Quirkyloon said...

VE, why did the Bee Gees retire? Now THAT makes me sad and suicidal?

heh heh

VE said...

quirkyloon - I know, I know. All good things gotta come to an end...

The Incredible Woody said...

These suicide attempters just aren't doing their research. Toroweap is the place to jump if you truly don't want to survive.

lime said...

that picture gives me the heebie jeebies. yikes!

VE said...

incredible woody - Obviously its just a cry for help. A particularly loud one when you're shishkabob'd onto a rock spire hundreds of feet below the top...

VE said...

lime - I know...and it's handicapped parking right there anyway. They could get a ticket...

Gladys said...

Well obviously this guy was suicidal. The Park Rangers should have picked up on this immediately. He was driving a 1987 VAN! It wasn't even painted with a cool wizard on the side. There was no tear drop window in the back.

Now had he been driving a Good Times Van with the burnt orange shag carpet and the fun fur seat covers that would have been another story!

I am Arizona; a person, not a place. said...

They should just leave the park rangers with a prescription pad. That way they can just hand out rx's for Prozac or Effexor. Oh, and for those who are still experiencing symptoms of depression although they are on an anti-depressant, there is Abilify. Abilify is not without side effects. Tell your doctor if you experience chest pain, runny diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting blood, a swollen tongue, or joint pain as these may be signs of a life threatening side effect.

Elizabeth said...

I'm with Lime, just looking at that pictures makes dizzy.

VE said...

gladys - Ha! You are so right. I thought the unpainted ones were reserved for serial killers, not suicide candidates.

arizona - I can see why Abilify is so attractive. Who wouldn't want a swollen tongue while vomiting blood?

elizabeth - Never read my blog when perched from a drop off...

Giggle Pixie said...

They should also ask if the person is addicted to watching Lost or American Idol, because that would be a really, REALLY good indicator of an unstable mind.

VE said...

giggle pixie - Maybe they should combine those two shows. Lost American Idol...

Kanrei said...

My heart always breaks for people who fail at suicide. I mean, it is usually an endless stream of failures that drives a person to that point, so to fail at that as well would jsut be too much.

VE said...

kan - The ultimate failure. But if they have one happy moment after that, that's a moment they would never have experienced had they succeeded.

Kanrei said...

True. I realized that, since I take weekends off blogging, I need to actually comment twice a day during the week to keep up. I am only at 13 out of 21 so far and it is only Feb!

Chris Wood said...

Bless your heart for drawing attention to this issue. I have committed suicide in several national parks. If only this type of thing had been there, I wouldn't have. In fact, I'd have devoted my life to orphans.

Bless you.

Sarah said...

Geez I hope those park rangers are getting some hazard pay for dealing with all these new duties!

Beth said...

Seriously? And what's the consequence for the park rangers who miss one? They're fired?
Perhaps they should hire Psych. grads - and pay accordingly.

angie said...

That would really suck to fail at suicide, too. :)

VE said...

kan - It's ok...you're a long term reader. The cream always rises to the top! I have no idea what that means...I just thought I'd throw it in there.

chris - You should write a 12 step program. Do it with Powerpoint. That'll rivet them to their seats...

sarah - They've been given subscriptions to the Jelly of the Month club as additional compensation. The gift that keeps on giving...

beth - They're working on special ink blot tests for new employees...

angie - Of course...you'll either know it...or not.

colbymarshall said...

When you fail at killing yourself, you should be sad. But really, does it change anything? Hm...

Chica said...

It's his own fault he didn't survive, if the car doesn't work, ya feet should, he could have jumped, sheesh.

Chica said...

err I haven't had enough caffeine yet this afternoon, I mean it's his own fault that he survived.. lol

Megan said...

Looks to me like the van fought back.

Roy Scribner said...

Do you 'spose they just had the radio up too loud?

Sick of people - no ones real
Sick of chicks - they're all bitches
Sick of you - you're to hip
Sick of life - it sucks!

Jaime said...

suicide training at national parks? now that's a great use of taxpayer dollars

VE said...

colby - Not really...except that it is illegal. Off to jail for failing...

chica - That's what I was thinking. Perhaps he had enough push to drive off but then not enough desire to finish it after surviving that

megan - Probably has a bumber sticker that says "I survived the Colorado National Monument plunge"

roy - Sounds like one sick person!

jaime - See how we can utilize the bail out money? Amazing

The Self-Deprechaun said...

I think if I was one of the park rangers, I would cause a normal person who just wanted to see the canyons become suicidal. Take my wife for example. You the man VE!

Maureen said...

Poor Park Rangers. You'd think they'd have enough to do keeping those picnic-basket-stealing bears in line....

leelee said...

Funny that the Bee Gee's sang Stayin' Alive!

Also, concerning your poll...I pretty much want all those mythological creatures living just outside of town..except for goblins...don't like goblins.

HUGS!!

Uncivil said...

Guns don't kill people. Canyons kill people?

Jacki said...

And now the guy has to live the rest of his life being known as the guy who tried to kill himself at the canyon. He never gets a break!

VE said...

self-deprechaun - Yes...I don't think you'd pass the special ink blot identification test...

maureen - Yes...that Boo Boo is a sneaky bear...

leelee - I'll send the gnomes right over...

uncivil - It's rarely reported too!

jacki - He should go on the talk circuit and make millions!

ReformingGeek said...

From the looks of the canyon with all that snow, the driver could easily try again by attempting a hike.

The Fool said...

As FZ sang:

You say there ain't no use in livin',
It's all a waste of time,
And you wanna throw your life away,
Well people that's just fine,
Go ahead 'n get it over with then,
Find you a bridge 'n take a jump,
Just make sure you do it right the first time,
'cause nothin's worse than a suicide chump...

You would think that the person would have been so embarassed by that failed attempt that they would have just jumped from there. :)

First visit...via Kootenay Bliss...fun post.

VE said...

reforminggeek - I heard the van sued him for damages...

the fool - Welcome. Good choice on lyrics. We should send him a T-shirt that says "Canyon - 1, you - 0"

Bee said...

Pffft! They can keep their damn canyon! I prefer the Golden Gate Bridge myself.

Alex L said...

Thats a nice parking job though.

Janna said...

Or they could just require everyone to wear multiple layers of bubble wrap...

dani c said...

Wait, I'm still stuck on the fact that he tried to kill himself by driving off an effin canyon ?

Matt-Man said...

Until I read that the attempt was made by a 34 year old. I thought the report was about you. Cheers!!

Kevin John said...

Let's see, a 1987 cargo van. Probably an out of work construction person that couldn't quite get that loan..to bad he wasn't an investment banker-he might have.



Kind of hard to make an obvious suicide event into something funny, but I disagree that he "failed". Perhaps there was an angel(s) making sure things went a bit different than expected.
God works in strange ways...

Kurt said...

Driving off s cliff is not the greatest suicide technique, when you think of all that could go wrong.

VE said...

bee - People live from long jumps into water too. I once jumped off a bridge...it was over 60 feet. No, it was no a suicide attempt, it was worse...peer pressure.

alex - They ought to put points around each spire so they can take aim...

janna - You don't already do that? I'm shocked. I have mine on.

dani - Maybe he was just texting...

matt-man - Yes, thankfully I'm much older and wiser to know better!

kevin - Strange ways indeed. That's why my humor focus more on the government's attempt at prevention...

kurt - I know, I know. What if there was no gravity at that particular spot? Did he think of that possibility? What if he ran out of gas before the edge? What if he forgot about the snickers bar in the glove box?

Gnomeself Be True said...

After 6 hours in the car with my family, I always look like I'm ready to drive off a cliff...because I AM!
I guess we've seen our last National Park.

VE said...

Gnomeself Be True - First, install one of those taxi dividers between the front of the car and the back. Then, should the need occur, install another one between the passenger and drivers seats. Add an independent mp3 stereo system for the driver side with secruity videos for both other compartments and you'll be set!

Bonnie the Boss said...

I think they need to just give everyone a puff of Nitrous Oxide as they come into the park. Then they would be happy and pain free

Jeff said...

27 people attempted suicide at the park last year? Man, they really need to lower the admission rates.

Starrlight said...

That sounds about as helpful as those trashed signs on Suicide Bridge here in P-Town. Every time I drive that road I ponder the psychological significance of those signs being so sad looking.

Reverse psychology?

ghost of keywork said...

Ok, I live in Grand Junction. The man in question stood and still stands to be charged for child abuse. I don't blame him, I'd probably do the same thing. Sadly, this happens quite often at The Monument. But usually, the attempts are actually successful. That van was a fucking piece, though, and I'm glad he took it off the road.

VE said...

bonnie - Ha! That could be a nice little kiosk business you have there...

jeff - It's probably the damn trinkets they sell

starrlight - Those are sobering aren't they? Isn't it interesting that everyone that lives around Portland for any length of time knows that bridege to be suicide bride?

ghost of keywork - Ah...the story behind the yahoo blip! That's the trouble with pushing forward on writing something around a suicide piece; many unfunny situations probably surround the real story. But nobody ever claimed I had good judgement...

Carla said...

That picture is crazy!!! Hmmm...I bet the guy didn't think he was going to fail with that attempt.

VE said...

carla - No, I don't expect anyone would...