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2017 Annual Meeting

September 12–14, 2017

Aurora, Colorado

The links below contained detailed information for the upcoming 2017 Safe States Alliance Annual Meeting, taking place September 12-14, 2017 in Aurora, Colorado.

Please note:

A cross-sector approach to suicide prevention on bridges in Minnesota

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM–9:15 AM MDT
Conference Room 1
Learning Objectives

1. Understand the key elements of a comprehensive, cross-sector initiative preventing suicide on bridges.

2. Understand architectural designs of bridges that provide the greatest deterrence to suicide.

3. Understand key learning’s of a cross-sector collaboration to address suicides on bridges.


Statement of Purpose

Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in Minnesota. Deaths by suicides have incrementally increased in Minnesota, with a high of 730 deaths in 2015. From 2010 to 2015, 145 suicides from high places were identified in Minnesota; 49 occurred from a bridge. There are risks to the general public when a death by suicide occurs from a bridge including psychological trauma, potential contagion and improper reporting by media. Minnesota has developed a cross-sector suicide prevention project to address suicides on bridges in Minnesota.


In 2015, the Saint Paul community experienced seven deaths by from a bridge that had been perceived by the media and some groups as “the suicide bridge.” The average deaths by suicide on “The Bridge.” has been 0-1 deaths historically. These events prompted action by a neighborhood community to request support from Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and non-profit organizations. The neighborhood community created a forum to have safe dialogues, and educate and sponsor events for community members on suicide prevention. The MDH provided technical assistance on suicide data and prevention strategies (the issue of data memorials, QPR, etc.,) and “safe messaging” for community members and the media. Non-profits suicide advocates provided suicide prevention trainings. MnDOT is renovating and redesigning the bridge structure with the best deterrents for those at-risk of attempting suicide on the bridge.



Since 2016, there have been zero deaths by suicide on “The Bridge.” Our work has resulted in greater awareness and prevention efforts in the community. MnDOT continues to consult with MDH and other experts like, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), during the current design process of “The Bridge.” The neighborhood community continues to have a powerful voice and continues engage their community members on innovative strategies to prevent suicides on “The Bridge.”

Conclusions & Significance to the Field

This unique cross-sector collaboration has functioned for nearly two years to ensure the safety of people on “The Bridge.” We have applied our key learning’s to other bridges in Minnesota. There are opportunities and challenges when understanding each other’s perspectives, prioritize and communication styles, but the shared vision to keep people safe has provided the unified approach.



Amy Lopez, Minnesota Department of Health

Ms. Amy Lopez is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Injury and Violence Prevention Section of the Minnesota Department of Health. Amy’s passion in violence prevention has been demonstrated domestically and globally during her 20+ year career serving the homeless, LGBTQ youth, gang members, juvenile and adult offenders and survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and sexual violence. She has worked for and collaborated with diverse communities including American Indians, Southeast Asians, East and West Africans and Latinos.

Amy’s previous position was at Greater Twin Cities United Way where she managed for over ten years grant portfolios and community initiatives in the areas of domestic violence and food insecurity. She has a strong background in research and evaluation working for Wilder Research Center and The Urban Coalition. Amy has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Minnesota in Psychology and a Master’s Degree of Social Work, with an emphasis in public policy, public administration and community development.


Primary Contact

Amy Lopez, Minnesota Department of Health