Almost a decade ago, Kevin Hines thought that no one cared about him, so he leapt from the Golden Gate Bridge. Immediately upon jumping, he regretted his decision. Miraculously, he survived, and has dedicated his life ever since to speaking about his experience.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, which involves a number of events in the Santa Barbara and Ventura areas, so Hines answered a few of my questions about his life this week.
You jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. Other than that miracle, how quickly did your outlook on living change?
In the hospital a Franciscan Friar came to me, prayed with me daily, and told me that I had to talk about what happened to me in order to help others. I have not taken anything in this life for granted since those days in that hospital. I believe that life is the single greatest gift that we have ever been given.
How does mental illness, such as your experience of being bipolar, play into discussions of preventing suicide?
My experience of having bipolar disorder (not being it, as it does not define me) plays a role in presenting my discussions of prevention because it is what led me to my attempt. My brain disease caused psychosis that put me off of that bridge on that terrible day.
Is it all about taking one’s meds, or is there more to it?
There is way, way more to it. Routine is the key! If you are prescribed meds it is important to take them with 100 percent accuracy.
But meds don’t work well for everyone. A great sleep pattern or good circadian rhythm is key, eating healthily, exercising is crucial, routined eating throughout the day, a great and educated peer network of personal protectors, reputable proven therapy, and so much more!
How important is limiting easier access for people to commit suicide?
The reduction of access to lethal means of suicide is one of the most important suicide prevention tools we have. If we can hone in on these kind of pertinent prevention tools we can save so many lives.
What’s your best advice for people who have any thoughts of committing suicide?
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please TALK about it now, to anyone you trust love or care about or cares about you. Please don’t hesitate to call 1.800.8255 and dial 1 If you are a military veteran or on active duty.
I would urge those dealing with these terrible thoughts to fight through the stigma associated with it and tell people around you what you are going through.
Know this: You are not a burden, you deserve to be here no matter what your are going through, your life matters.