What led a woman to consider jumping off a St. Paul bridge?

A woman tried to jump off the Robert Street bridge in St. Paul yesterday and she lived to talk about it, at least for another day, thanks to the St. Paul Fire and Police Departments.

Suicide attempts don’t generate news stories but this time people in the area took cellphone video of the rescue attempt, so it was only natural that the focus on the story is the heroic work of officers who told the woman that people really do love her.

(Video link)

“As I approached I was making contact with the officers, talking with them, not verbally, just with hand signals and saying, ‘I’m here, I think we should do this.’ As I got closer, I was able to see that this was starting to deteriorate further and as I got right up alongside her, I signaled we’re doing this and they reacted just like I did. They grabbed onto me and we grabbed onto her and we pulled her over to safety,” Deputy Fire Chief Conrad Ertz tells KSTP.

But there’s always an untold story. What led a woman to sit on the bridge and think that jumping was better than living another day? Did she try to get help (where she sat was literally in the shadow of the building where help is available) and, if so, where and why did the effort fail?

There’s only so much a fire chief and police officers can do in situations like this. The rest is up to the community to figure out the answers to the questions we need to ask more often.