- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - About 250 suicide prevention signs soon will be going up in 12 city and five University of Nebraska-Lincoln parking garages.

The city and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition have been working on the effort since last fall, when a student died after falling from a downtown garage. Several people have jumped or fallen from downtown parking garages over the past three years, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/2af6kPR ).

In addition to the signs, the coalition will provide suicide prevention training to university police and dispatchers. Police also will increase patrols during high-stress times such as finals week, university Police Chief Owen Yardley said.

The first signs went up in the Que Place garage downtown and in Lincoln hospital garages. This week, city officials approved posting around 50 signs in the top floors of the remaining 12 downtown parking garages. About 200 signs will go into the five university parking garages.

The signs say that people feeling depressed or suicidal are not alone and list phone numbers for local and national suicide prevention hotlines.

The city had waited to approve the additional signs because officials wanted evidence on their effectiveness, said Rick Hoppe, the mayor’s chief of staff. There was some concern the signs could encourage rather than discourage suicide, he said.

The coalition provided information that showed the fears were unfounded.

“What we know is that research says 95 percent of people asked directly (if they are contemplating suicide) will not go on to complete” the acts,” said coalition member Rose Hood Buss.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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