In 2000, Kevin Hines jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. But the second he was in the air, he instantly regretted his decision. As he hurtled headlong towards the water, he managed to turn his body so his feet hit first. The fall broke Kevin’s back and shattered his vertebrae, but he survived. Today, he raises awareness for depression and suicide prevention. In the wake of Robin Williams’ tragic death, Glenn invited Kevin onto the show to share his personal insight and struggle with suicide.
“Born addicted to drugs premature, from my infancy I fought to live. I grew up adopted in a beautiful home and yet at the age of 17 1/2 developed a severe form of bipolar disorder, Type I with psychotic features. One that lent itself to extreme psychosis, paranoid delusions, hallucinations both auditory and visual, terrible manic highs and awful depressive lows,” Kevin explained.
Those symptoms led Kevin to the Golden Gate Bridge where he attempted to take his own life, he immediately regretted.
“It was the millisecond my hands left the rail I had what I call an instant regret,” Kevin explained. “I prayed for my survival.”
When he hit the water, he managed to fight through the pain and get to the surface. As he broke the surface and struggled to stay afloat, he felt something bump his leg. Eyewitnesses on the bridge claim a sea lion was circling and nudging him until the Coast Guard arrived to rescue him.
While he recovered both physically and mentally in the hospital, he met a priest who told him that he needed to share his story with others.
“He came to my left side and put his hand on my forehead, and he said ‘Kid when you get better you have to talk about this,’” Kevin explained.
Kevin explained that the best way to help someone who is having suicidal thoughts is to ask them directly if they are planning to take their life.
“Statistically when you say that to someone who is in that much epic emotional pain, they tell the truth.”
Kevin said that you then have to take the time to listen, without judgement, to what the person is going through. Then seek help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
“I believe we all go through what we go through for a reason and we all have a purpose. It sounds to me like you’ve found your purpose and I’m thrilled for you,” Glenn said.