Samsung Life Insurance Transforms Seoul Suicide Site into 'Healing Bridge'
South Korea has a problem: It has the highest suicide rate among the OECD countries, and one bridge is responsible for many suicide attempts. Mapo Bridge, which traverses Seoul's river, has become a popular spot for suicide attempts in part because it is easily accessible to pedestrians, and also perhaps because it is close to the city's Financial District, making it easily accessible for loss-stricken financial professionals.
In the past five years, 108 people have attempted suicide from the bridge. Samsung Life Insurance and Cheil Worldwide teamed up to solve the problem by repositioning the bridge as a place of life, not death.
The interactive bridge now has sensors on the guardrails that light up when people walk by -- offering up messages of comfort ("The Best is Yet to Come," or "How would you like to be remembered?"), kind words and even jokes. Those messages were crafted after consultation with psychologists and suicide prevention activists, according to the agency.
The bridge also includes an "Image Zone" that shows happy photographs of smiling kids, couples and grandparents, as well as a brass statue of two friends, called "Just Once Again."