Annie and Alex Morell, the daughters of newspaper heiress Anne Scripps, grew up happy, privileged and loved in the New York suburbs.
Then on New Year's Eve, 1993, Scripps was attacked and killed in her home with a hammer. After the killing, her husband, the girls' stepfather, drove to the Tappan Zee Bridge and jumped to his death.
Sixteen years later, Annie Morell Petrillo, grown up and a divorced mother herself, was still suffering from the loss of her mother. To the shock of her friends and family, she jumped off the Tappan Zee Bridge from the very same place her stepfather did years earlier.
Click HERE for the Scripps family story.
Suicide, said Kevin Caruso, executive director of www.suicide.org, is completely preventable. His website is designed to help suicidal people find the help they need, offering supportive information and resources. Countless people have credited the site with saving their lives, Caruso said.
There are many ways to prevent suicide, from mental health resources to physical barriers.
One 1978 academic study looked at 515 people who were prevented from jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge between 1937 and 1971. It found that more than 90 percent were still alive or had died of natural causes at the time of the study. It concluded that suicidal behavior is "crisis-oriented and acute" in nature. Prevention and intervention, such as building barriers to stop jumpers, are helpful.
"If we prevent people from jumping off bridges (and get them the professional help that they need), the suicidal feelings they are experiencing will subside and the likelihood of them dying by suicide will be greatly diminished," Caruso said.
Signs, telephones that connect to a suicide prevention hotline, law-enforcement patrols and volunteer patrols can help prevent suicides on bridges, he added.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Operators are available 24 hours a day through this crisis intervention hotline. Help is offered in English and Spanish.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention conducts research and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide, also helping people whose lives have been affected by suicide, by offering support and opportunities to contribute to their prevention efforts.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) provides prevention support, training and resources to assist organizations and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions and policies, and to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
The most common methods of suicide involve deaths by firearms, hangings and overdoses, accounting for 90 percent of all suicides in the United States.
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular site in the country -- and the world -- to commit suicide. Federal funding for a suicide barrier on the bridge was approved in July 2010.
The Tappan Zee Bridge in New York connects Rockland and Westchester Counties, two counties whose suicide rates are among the lowest in the state. About six people per year attempt to commit suicide by jumping from the Tappan Zee Bridge per year.
It is estimated that a suicide attempt is made every minute of every day in the United States. As many as 90 people die by suicide daily, 34,000 each year.