By Janet Curiel |Staff Writer|
Kevin Hines stood and took a long pause as if frozen in time on the SMSU stage and followed the stillness with three words: “Are you ok?”
That was all he needed to hear in the 40 minutes he paced the Golden Gate Bridge on the day he jumped.
He became 1 of 34, less than 1%, to survive the fall that over 2000 didn’t.
Hines, an award-winning global speaker, bestselling author, documentary filmmaker, suicide prevention and mental health advocate, gripped his audiences with the account of his unlikely survival.
Hines was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 19 and continues with the daily struggle of his brain disorder.
The moving presentation was presented by Thrive Health Promotion and SMSU Pride Center.
The overall suicide rate has seen a surge of a 30 year high, according to a recent study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics reported by the New York Times on April 22.
Rates rose by 24 percent from 29,199 in 1999 to 42,773 in 2014. The staggering numbers reflect that this is an ongoing issue facing tens of thousands of Americans each year, making it the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
Hines recounted the days and hours before he attempted to end his life, wherein a silence fell among the room as students and community members listened intently in the hour long presentation.
“The speech was incredibly transparent. It’s good to hear,” said James Alley.
“You know there is an old stigma that goes with talking about depression, mental health and suicide; that you don’t want to be rude, but that it’s important to ask people, and that it’s been proven that it really does help,” continued Alley.
He took questions from the audience, followed with a book signing of his bestselling memoir, “Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After A Suicide Attempt.”
It was apparent that from the questions and comments during the Q & A that this was a subject that hit close to home to many in the audience, with some mentioning personal struggles and of close family and friends affected with the loss of loved ones.
“It was very needed, I would love to attend more presentations like this,” said student Erin Duckens, who herself and family members have struggled with depression in the past.
Hines is currently producing a documentary titled “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” and was featured in the 2006 Documentary the Bridge.
For more information on Kevin Hines, visit kevinhinesstory.com.
CSUSB THR!VE-Health Promotion strives to create a campus culture that encourages and supports health-promoting behaviors and environments.
They provide free health information, training and health promotion counseling to all CSUSB students.
Through creative and engaging health education programming and clinic services, students learn how to reduce their stress, combat their anxiety and worry, understand and manage basic depressive symptoms, and recognize and prevent suicidal behavior, according to the CSUSB Health Center Website.
For more information on THRIVE programs, contact Albert Angelo health educator at [email protected] or call 909-537-3281.
May is also National Mental Awareness Month; if anyone would like to learn more about warning signs, mental health conditions and treatment, visit nami.org for more information.