Kevin Hines, who survived jump from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, also shares message of hope
Although it is rare, some individuals do survive suicide attempts from tall bridges. The best-known is Kevin Hines, who in the year 2000 at the age of 19 jumped from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, some 220 feet above San Francisco Bay at high tide.
Hines, who was living with bipolar disorder, later recalled regretting jumping about a second into his fall. His survival prompted him to become an author, filmmaker, storyteller and speaker with a message of “hope, healing and recovery,” as he says on his website, kevinhinesstory.com.
“He is one of only thirty-six (less than 1%) to survive the fall and he is the only Golden Gate Bridge jump survivor who is actively spreading the message of living mentally healthy around the globe,” his website says.
Today, Hines sits on the boards of several mental-health organizations and has been honored for his work many times, including with the distinguished Clifford W. Beers Award from Mental Health America.
Of the relatively few who have survived the fall, Hines is "the only one to regain full physical mobility,” Mental Health America wrote in announcing the award. “The fall would break his body, but not his spirit. Today, Kevin dedicates his life to saving lives by spreading the message of hope and sharing his art of living mentally well.”
He does so with the message that “Life is a gift, that is why they call it the present. Cherish it always,” and the hashtag #BeHereTomorrow “and every day after that.”
Hines, who spoke in Rhode Island in late 2104 at an event to raise awareness of depression sponsored by Lifespan’s Gateway Healthcare behavioral-health provider, recently completed a documentary, “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” which he describes as “a film to save lives.” Watch the trailer.
In his bestselling memoir, “Cracked Not Broken, Surviving and Thriving After A Suicide Attempt,” Hines explained his reasons for sharing his story:
“I write this book for those who cannot and will never give voice to their reasons or regrets … for the families who have lost sons, daughters, mothers and fathers to the bridge … to anyone anywhere who has lost a loved one to the silent impulses that lie behind mental illnesses affecting families and communities all around the world.
“How did I end up at this point in my life? Based on my personal experience, suicides can be prevented. Throughout this journey, this same question is constantly on my mind as I tell my story. I recognize that without this chapter in my life, I would be an entirely different person. I found myself along the way. I found my piece of hope, I came face to face with my destiny.
“Most importantly, throughout this journey I found my life.”
Mark Gonsalves has read the story of Kevin Hines. And while, unlike Hines, he did not regret his decision to jump while he was falling, he wound up in the same place.
Like Hines, he found his calling and his life.