In 2012, at least nine people jumped to their deaths from the 212-foot-high George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River on the north side of Manhattan, New York. In 2010, an 18-year-old Rutgers freshman named Tyler Clementi leapt off the bridge after being cyberbullied. Police take suicide threats very seriously—and will even take to Facebook to prevent a jump.
This wasn’t a case of talking a teenager down from a ledge. He wasn’t even on the bridge yet—he’d just posted a photo and a message to the social network.
“I am thinking about jumping,” the 18-year-old posted, along with a picture of the George Washington Bridge.
By 1pm, a friend of the teenager notified police. The authorities messaged the 18-year-old on Facebook, asking him to not go through with it. Lt. Thomas Michaels also included his cellphone number in the message and told the 18-year-old to call him. Sgt. Nadine Rhem was just as persistent, offering help throughout the afternoon.
At 3pm, Michaels got the call. The teen agreed to meet and to be taken to a hospital.