A raft of measures are being considered to help protect vulnerable people on the Tay Road Bridge following a fresh incident this week.
Music, lighting, artwork and increased engagement with those who have found themselves on the bridge in the past are among the initiatives being considered, it has emerged.
It comes following renewed calls for action to be taken after the latest incident on Monday, when the bridge was closed to traffic in both directions in the early evening.
Councillor Lynne Short, the bridge board chairwoman, revealed talks were continuing in how the city could best address the ongoing issue.
She said: “We’ve got communication professionals and mental health professionals looking at the messaging and looking at if it could be a multi-model message.
“So, it doesn’t just have to be a poster with a phone number on it, it can be other ways of preventive messaging.
“As I’ve said, although there may not be the same physical barriers, perhaps we can create mental barriers using music and lights.
“We’re also looking at an expansion of the artwork that’s already down there to create more of a footfall, so just changing the narrative of the whole place.”
Ms Short said the board had made various applications for grant funding, to NHS Innovates and Sustrans, to help push forward a network of organisations that can work together to help.
She added: “When you think about some of the Christmas shows and using lights in a very different way, you can use them to tell stories and have lights projected on the wall – using lights as a form of messaging.
“We aren’t 100% sure yet – that’s why we’ve got the communication professionals in, because what’s not working right now are posters of a blonde-haired woman in her 50s saying, ‘phone the Samaritans’.
“What we really need, essentially, is signposting a lot of steps before we get to the bridge, but once you do get to the bridge, that signposting has to be something that’s breaking the mental barriers, as the physical barriers aren’t working.
“It is the communication and mental health professionals who need to guide us on how best to use the lighting.”
Ms Short said she also hoped to speak to people who had been rescued from the bridge to find out their perspective on how the current safeguards could be improved.
“I’ve also reached out to Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action (DVVA). They have a few groups where they deal with people with mental health issues, and they’ve given me reports on why the bridge has become this focal point.
“I’ve offered to go and speak to people and listen to them, so that we can have a conversation.
“I’m part of the Dundee Fairness Commission and the thing about the commission is, it’s about ‘lived experience’, so in order to understand what would make things better, there’s no point in putting something in place that people think will work, it’s actually, ‘ok, you did go to the bridge, what would work?’,” she added.
Zana Grant, who was rescued from the freezing waters of the Tay after attempting to take her own life in January 2018, said there was no “one size fits all” approach.
She said: “From personal experience I feel that the most effective way to dissuade people from placing themselves on the other side of the barrier would be a physical presence. A friendly face which could be implemented by a group of volunteers, perhaps.
“A physical presence would also serve as an extra pair of eyes to inform the authorities immediately to ensure a prompt response.
“I have also read studies that have shown the benefits of blue coloured lighting used at railway stations in Japan to prevent suicide attempts. Which could be a less invasive option.
“The extra illumination can make the bridge less desirable as the lights can be associated with a higher presence of people or patrols.”
Zana also said she could see the benefit of artwork which would display messages of hope to “allow people a moment to stop and read and hopefully reconsider”.
“I don’t think there is a one solution fits all and multiple measures may be needed but it’s imperative the authorities do more and do it urgently. Money needs to be invested here because doing nothing puts way too many more lives at risk,” she added.
NHS Tayside and DVVA have been approached for comment.