A young woman standing outside the railing on St. Paul's Robert Street Bridge this week was weeping as she looked down at the Mississippi River, 62 feet below.
Two police officers who were trying to talk her off the ledge did not seem to be convincing her. "She said she didn't feel like anyone loved her," officer Shawn Longen told FOX 9. "I assured here there were people who loved her and if they were there they would be doing everything they could to get her to come to the other side of the railing."
As the cops continued talking with the woman another safety official, District Chief Conrad Ertz of the St. Paul Fire Department, arrived and stealthily crept up behind her. A passerby on the other side of the street, Matthew Seaton, captured video of what happened next.
Ertz told the Pioneer Press his heart went out to the young woman immediately. “You want to help," he said. "You stop sort of thinking about yourself and you’re thinking about the other individual and the pain or the trouble that they’re having.”
The woman struggled at first but authorities said she calmed down in a little while and paramedics took her to a hospital.
Officer Longen later went to see her there, he told the Star Tribune, and “shared some personal experiences with her and tried to give her some hope.”
Suicides increasing; where to find help
State officials say the number of suicides has been rising – both in Minnesota and nationally – since bottoming out in 2000.
In 2015 there were 726 suicides in the state. That year the Health Department came out with a suicide prevention plan with the goal of reducing suicides 10 percent by 2020.
A suicide crisis telephone line unique to Minnesota has had some financial problems, but you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.