Suicide has always been a great problem, not only in Europe but all over the world. What makes people kill themselves? Nobody can really answer this question conclusively because even the age, social status, or gender does not define a reason for committing suicide. Every year about 1,000,000 suicides occur worldwide. Europe, both east and west, has about 163,000 instances annually. Most people decide to end their lives at home or work, but some of them choose a special place to visit before death.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe has the world’s highest suicide rate and if it used to be the over-75 age group, today the cases are rising among young people. Women attempt suicide 3 times more than men, though men 3 times more actually succeed. It is known that women are more likely to chose “romantic” ways of killing themselves like poisoning or jumping off high buildings and bridges while men use much more violent methods such as gunshot to the head or mouth or a intentional crash injury. All the scientists and researchers firmly insist that Europe needs to reduce its shameful record of 17.5 suicides per 100,000 people. Among the top ten suicidal countries worldwide are the UK, Sweden, Germany, France, Hungary, and Belgium.
Today not only the number but also the types of suicides have changed. A current trend has people coming from different countries to big cities and famous places of interest to end their lives by jumping off a cliff, a bridge, or a tower. This kind of suicide is referred to as “tourists-suicides”, and the popular places where the act takes place – “suicide sites”. These destinations have a certain reputation and some magic aura that attracts people who have decided to take their own life. Psychologists say those who attempt suicide in a well-known place are trying to draw other people’s attention that they sought while alive.
Among such suicide sites – Clifton Bridge and Humber Bridge located in the UK, Göltzschtalbrücke – the railway bridge in Germany, Cliffs of Moher – the spectacular seaside cliffs located in Ireland, Nusle Bridge (or Nuselsky Most) in Prague, and of course Eiffel Tower in Paris are the most well-known.
A lot of people kill themselves in Paris, and jumping off the “Iron Lady” (which is 1,063 feet high) is the third most popular method of suicide after poisoning and hanging in France. Actually only about 68% of the suicides are known by the Official Statistic in the Paris region and 26% of them in the city of Paris proper. After AIDS, suicide is the second most frequent cause of death in Paris.
The first suicide at the Eiffel Tower was committed by a 23-year-old man, who hanged himself from one of the beams on July, 15th 1898. The most recent case of suicide, according the media, happened on June, 26th this year. A young woman threw herself from half way up the Eiffel Tower, crashing onto a restaurant patio on the first floor of the Paris monument. For 120 years since the monument’s construction about 400 people killed themselves there, of which two survived the 171 feet drop from the first floor, one was blown onto a rafter by the wind and one young woman landed on the roof of a car. A bit of good news from that potentially tragic attempt – after recovering from her injuries this woman married the owner of the car.
Several years ago 6 feet high barriers were constructed on the tower perimeter in order to reduce the number of incidents. Apparently the barriers have had a positive effect. The Police Préfecture claims that suicide attempts from the tower have become very rare. Even so, there are still a lot of people who desire to jump off a famous Paris site. At least 4-5 cases of suicide a year happen in the capital city. That is the reason why the Eiffel Tower is named one of the most popular suicide sites in Europe. Parisians would prefer it just be known as a nice place to visit…