Following another suicide at a parking structure at Disneyland Resort in California, the park has reportedly taken the first steps in working to help deter visitors from doing the same thing in the future.
The death of a 24-year-old man by apparent suicide at the Disneyland Resort in southern California on Wednesday evening, November 15, has devastated his family and friends. The tragedy marks the third suicide to have taken place at the Disney resort in less than a year.
A Tragedy in November
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, November 15, Anaheim Police responded to a call at 1100 West Magic Way about someone having jumped from the Pixar Pals parking structure at Disneyland. When they arrived, officers found a man at the scene who was deceased following an apparent jump or fall from the parking structure.
Jonah Alexander Edwards’s passing is the ninth reported suicide at Disneyland Resort, the first of which took place on September 3, 1994, and the third to have taken place in less than one year. There have now been 13 people take their lives at Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort
Does Disney Have a Moral Obligation to Help?
The passing of Jonah Alexander Edwards at the Disneyland Resort has brought unimaginable grief to his family and friends who are only beginning to process the initial emotions associated with their loss. But it has also raised questions again about the reasons individuals commit suicide in public locations–and about whether public places have any responsibility–moral or otherwise–in taking steps to help prevent the scenarios from happening
According to University of California at Irvine psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a specialist in suicide prevention, the reasons can vary, but the choice of location often has to do with accessibility.
“The reason for that is it simply appears to people to be really accessible,” Dr. Kheriaty explained. “[Individuals] can walk onto an overpass, and a police officer isn’t going to stop them from jumping, most likely. Probably, they just look around and say, “What’s the highest spot I can gain pedestrian access to?” But Kheriaty stresses that suicides often happen as impulses.
“You can put up a barrier–if it slows them down, if it makes them think, if they have to struggle more to do it, that may be enough to prevent them in that moment,” he said, explaining that there are two parts to the equation when it comes to a person committing suicide in a public place.
Therefore, if places like parking structures are more difficult to access, or if there are elements added to locations that make an individual think that an attempt might be unsuccessful, it can mean the difference between an act carried out and ideation upon which no action is taken, per Dr. Kheriaty.
This week, a post on Reddit might indicate that Disneyland has taken the first steps in helping to prevent visitors from carrying out a plan for self-harm at its parking structures, though there’s been no official word from Disneyland Resort or Disney Parks.
It’s worth noting again that Disney has made no announcement about the implementation of any new measures to deter visitors, and the photo shown above may or may not be of an additional security cast member stationed for such a purpose. However, any measures taken to help in the prevention of further attempts would likely be applauded by fans of the parks.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, there is help. There is hope at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to civilians and veterans. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line). Those searching for help can also dial 988 to be relayed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.