Maine DOT Installs Emergency Phones on Penobscot Narrows Bridge
After numerous people have ended their life by jumping off the bridge, prevention has become a very important focus. Instead of installing a suicide prevention fence or net, suicide hotline phones have been installed at both ends of the bridge.
Since the Penobscot Narrows Bridge was opened to the public in 2007 there have been at least 6 suicides from the bridge including well known Bangor figure, Rev. Robert Carlson in 2011. After another suicide from the bridge in 2014, independent Rep. Joe Brooks of Winterport, proposed emergency legislation for a safely net or fence.
Four, direct line, telephones have been installed at each end of the bridge with one on each side of the road. The phones are directly linked to a NAMI Maine hotline crisis worker, who will offer counseling to a person in an emergency situation. There's no need to dial, when the receiver is lifted, it connects directly.
NAMI Maine, which stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness, is part of a national non-profit that offers support, education, and advocacy for mental illness.
Greg Marley of NAMI Maine wants people to know Emergency personnel will not automatically be notified when the phone is engaged, but the crisis worker will determine whether they need to be called or not.
The phones are funded through the MDOT, but facilitated by NAMI Maine.
Anyone who is contemplating suicide is encouraged to call the crisis hotline at 1-888-568-1112.