April 11, 2023Raise the Rail: Suicide and the Built Environment
To save lives by amending the International Code Council’s requirements for railing and barriers and, more generally, by mining architecture for strategies that can be harnessed to prevent suicide.
Between 1999 and 2019, the suicide rate in the United States increased by 35 percent. Approximately 800 to 1,000 people die every year in the United States from suicide by jumping/falling. In New York City, deaths by jumping/falling are eight times the national average. While existing prevention strategies have limited impact, means prevention, the strategy of limiting access to lethal tools and circumstances, is particularly effective.
Several peer-reviewed academic studies demonstrate that higher railings save lives. In fact, many attempters do not go elsewhere, choose another method, or commit suicide later in life.
Architect Ed Kopel, AIA, is forming an advisory group that currently includes suicide activists, advocacy group members, and social science researchers in the US and abroad. He is seeking to engage New York City-based architects who are interested in the subject and willing to dedicate time and effort to preventing suicide through design.
Interested individuals can reach out directly to Ed Kopel at email@example.com.
Let’s save lives!