The millisecond my hands left the rail it was an instant regret. I remember thinking, “No one’s going to know that I didn’t want to die”. —Kevin Hines, suicide survivor
Experts refer to suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You don’t have to take my word for it, I’m no expert, but you can listen to Kevin Hines and get the information first-hand from one of the lucky 1%. Those are the people who survived the jump from the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay.
Mental illness and suicidal thoughts are constant companions for some folks, especially this time of year. After working rotating shifts at the GGB for 15 years I have my own set of observations based on the shifts I worked and the days of the year that I was at the bridge.
From mid-November to just after the first of the year there seemed to a spike in jumpers. Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day are a highly advertised time of family and the Spirit of Togetherness. For people who are alone—whether by choice, divorce, or death of a loved one—it is tough time to be on the outside looking in.
After New Year’s comes Valentine’s Day and then the final hurdle, April 15th, a.k.a.Tax Day here in the USA. As my friend, John, says: “The Game of Life is tough, and a lot of people out there are playin’ hurt.”
Suicide, mental illness and addiction are the only diseases that we blame the person for…People die from suicide just like they die from any other organ disease.
Kevin Hines was 19 years old in the year 2000 when he survived his jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge. You could say that there was a bigger, better plan for him that day. The realization that he wanted to live and the pain of hitting the water were enough to encourage him to get help for his hallucinations and mania. The road back was a long one for him and included seven psych ward stays in eleven years.
That might be more than most people could handle, but not for Kevin Hines. He has dedicated his life to helping others by spreading a message of hope and recovery. When he says, “Recovery happens. I’m living proof,” I, for one, have to believe him.
To help spread his message, Kevin is currently filming a documentary called, Suicide: The Ripple Effect. It examines both the devastating effects of suicide and the positive ripples of advocacy, inspiration and hope.
The video below will give you some idea of the power of his message.
I realize that this is a pretty dark subject for such a joyous time of year and I appreciate the fact that you have read this far. Here is my Holiday message this year: There is hope for all of us out there and it begins by each of us reaching out to someone else. Whether you need help or are strong enough to offer help, it is that connection to another human being that will get us all to higher ground. An open hand = an open heart and that’s my kind of Math.
I built a support network over these years of treatment so that I wouldn’t be fighting this alone. It’s OK not to be OK. It’s not OK not to ask someone to back you up. —Kevin Hines