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The Angel of Nanjing – Man Dedicates His Life to Preventing Suicides

The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing, China, is one of the most popular suicide spots in the world, and also the place where one man has spent all his weekends and holidays over the last 13 years trying to convince people out of ending their lives. He has so far been able to save over 300 people.

Chen Si claims that he can approach and talk people out of jumping off the bridge, because he knows how they feel. Many of those who attempt to commit suicide on the Yangtze River Bridge are not actually from Nanjing, but migrant workers living far away from home. Mr. Chen was like them once, a migrant disappointed with his life, living far away from his family. But then he met an old man who offered him optimistic advice and helped him look at life in a positive way. Unfortunately, not longer after they met, the old man’s sons started arguing about their inheritance, and he got so upset that he stopped eating and eventually died. It was this tragic event that inspired Chen to help troubled souls overcome their difficulties and persuade them that life is worth living. He always believed that if he had visited the old man sooner, as he had planned to do, he might have convinced him of that as well. “What could be more important than life itself?” he asks.

So every weekend since 2003, Chen Si has been traveling 25 kilometers from his home to the Yangtze Bridge and patrolling it for hours, either on foot or on his scooter, looking for people who look like they might be thinking of jumping into the river. He pays particularly close attentions to loners staring into the muddy waters below. Chen says he has become an expert at spotting people contemplating suicide. “It is very easy to recognize,” he says. “A person walks without a soul.”

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Bizarre “Death Experience” School Helps Depressed Koreans Appreciate Life by Locking Them in Coffins

A new treatment for suicidal patients in South Korea involves locking them up in wooden coffins.  The fake “death experience” apparently helps students appreciate life better after confronting a simulated version of their last moments. 

The rate of suicide in Korea is on the rise, with about 40 people killing themselves every day. Experts believe that the nation’s super-competitive atmosphere is responsible for so many cases of depression and suicide. And according to the Seoul Hyowon Healing Center, the solution to this crisis lies in their ‘death experience’ therapy. 

Participants at the centre come from all walks of life, including teenagers who struggle with pressure at school, older parents experiencing isolation, and the elderly who are afraid of becoming a financial burden on their families. They all don white robes and get into coffins arranged in rows. Beside each coffin is a small desk with pens and paper. Students sit inside the coffins and listen to a short talk by Jeong Yong-mun, a former funeral worker who is now the head of the healing centre. He explains to them that they should accept their problems as a part of life and try to find joy in the most difficult situations. Read More »

Japanese Anti-Suicide Crusader Has Saved over 500 People in the Last 11 Years

Yukio Shige, a retired police officer from Japan, has devoted the past decade of his life to preventing suicides. After foiling hundreds of suicide attempts in little over a decade, the 70-year-old has come to be known as ‘chotto matte man’. In Japanese, ‘chotto matte’ translates to ‘hold on, wait!’

In the last 11 years, Yukio Shigehas has managed to save over 500 lives – a significant number even in Japan, a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world. He patrols the Tojinbo cliffs, in Fukui Prefecture – a popular tourist site that is also notorious for suicides. He goes there every single day, with three other volunteers. Together they use binoculars to spot people who might be contemplating suicide, and try to talk them out of it.

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