Kevin Hines motivates people to keep on living
After suicide attempt, Hines made it a goal to help those with mental illness
Moments before he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, Kevin Hines felt his life would never change. He believed the voice in his head, telling him to give up, would always be talking to him. He thought a feeling of hopelessness would haunt him forever.
But seconds before Hines plunged into the water, he immediately regretted his decision to take his own life.
“The only words that went through my head for the rest of the fall until I hit the water were, ‘What have I done? God, please save me,’” Hines said in an interview that aired on KPCW this week.
Hines is one of 2,000 people who have jumped off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and one of 37 who survived the fall. He was 19 years old when, in September 2000, he attempted suicide. Since then, he has made it his mission to tell those who suffer from mental illness that there is light at the end of the tunnel. He now travels from place to place to share his story. This week, he was in Japan giving a lecture.
“I didn’t have anybody advocating for my mental wellbeing on a regular basis in therapy,” Hines said in his interview. “The doctor never told me that, with treatment and hard work, I could get better and I could stay well.”
Hines will make his way to Park City to explain the message that recovery from depression and mental illness is possible. Titled “Cracked Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt,” Hines’ speech is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium.
The talk, named after a book Hines wrote, is one of many events for Connect’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Connect is a nonprofit working to overcome the challenges of mental illness.
“We wanted to approach Kevin for the fact that 90 percent of people who commit suicide have underlying mental illness,” Shauna Wiest , executive director for Connect, told The Park Record. “That was the difficulty or the challenge with Kevin Hines. He had bipolar disorder. He was very frustrated with that. He could not find treatment and chose to take his own life.”
Margaret Hines, his wife, said he will share his wellness routine and story of recovery. His speech, which is free to attend, will also cover the importance of brain health, she said.
Wiest hopes his message will resonate with a Park City audience. She is especially excited to see how his talk will affect teenagers, since he will give a separate speech to students in an assembly set to take place at Park City High School the afternoon before his Wednesday lecture.
“Because he is so relatable to younger people, I am really hoping that he can transform their thinking and their thoughts on suicide,” Wiest said. “I think he shares his perspective so it resonates with a younger audience. They’ll see that, wow, this guy chose to live and he’s thriving.”
Wiest said that Hines, in addition to explaining that there is hope for recovery from depression, will also offer resources at both speeches and explain how family members are impacted by suicides. She added that Hines is a perfect fit for the month of talks and movies Connect has put on.
She said Mental Health Awareness Month has, so far, encouraged many people to seek help.
“The lectures we’ve held have created an unforeseen consequence,” Wiest said. “We’ve received a lot of calls from people who finally felt they could step forward. They said a particular event spoke to them and made them feel they could step forward and talk about their own problems or their family problems.”
The goal of Connect’s Mental Health Awareness Month is to show people ways to maintain mental and emotional stability. There are about 20 free talks, films and panel discussions planned throughout May.
Visit http://www.connectsummitcounty.org to learn about Connect and its month of events.
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