To help prevent suicides, Samsung Life Insurance and Cheil Worldwide has turned Mapo Bridge into an interactive bridge, nicknamed the Bridge of Life, by introducing a human touch to change would-be jumpers' minds, as opposed to erecting physical barriers.
Sensors on the guardrails track pedestrians’ movements, while short messages appearing on the lighted rails make it seem as if the bridge is speaking to passers-by, using kind words, comforting song lyrics, and funny jokes. These were carefully drafted after consultation with psychologists and suicide-prevention activists.
In the middle of the bridge, there is an 'Image Zone' showing photo of babies, smiling grandparents, and young couples. A brass statue, named 'Just once again', depicts two friends, one giving consolation to the other.
The campaign, supported by online videos, is running until the end of September.
South Korea recently recorded the highest suicide rate among the OECD member states, according to a report of OECD statistics for 2011-12.
Mapo Bridge, built in 1970, is a popular spot for suicide attempts as it has easier access for pedestrians. According to local media reports. over the past five years, 108 people have jumped off the bridge, with 48 dying.