Sometimes it only takes one simple change to make a big difference. The real key is thinking outside the box, and keeping records. For example, it's counterintuitive to think that it would be easier to get out of a building by a blocked exit than by a clear exit, but both experiments and records of actual disasters show that it's true. And some things sound stupid until you know how they work in the real world.
In Britain, after the government mandated that Tylenol must be sold in blister packs, the number of Tylenol-induced suicides dropped by a staggering 43 percent. That drop in suicide attempts also caused liver transplants to drop by 30 percent right away (because paracetamol overdosing can cause major liver damage), and ultimately by 61 percent -- just because taking pills now took as much effort as it takes to get to a piece of gum.
The crux of the matter lies with ease of access. Not to further the harmful stereotype that suicide is for quitters, but lives can indeed be saved by assuming that a lot of depressed people tend to give up easily. Deciding to end your life is usually an impulsive and temporary feeling, so if wanting swallow two fistfuls of painkillers requires you to pop out each one out of its wrapper for 15 minutes, a lot of people will decide it's not worth the trouble. All we have to do is make sure that committing suicide is more annoying than staying alive.
That makes sense, but you probably never thought of suicide by Tylenol. Here in the US, it might make sense to mandate heroin and bullets be sold in blister packs -not that it would ever happen. Read about five weird but simple things that could save lives if we were willing to try them at Cracked.
(Image credit: Flickr user Michael Dales)