Hope for the present, hope for the future

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On Sept. 23, suicide survivor Kevin Hines will be the keynote speaker for Suicide Prevention week, Sept. 21-26.

Hines joins the less than two percent of people who have survived jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge and he is the only survivor who is actively spreading a message of hope.

“My message is pure and simple, it is one of hope for the present, and hope for the future of those lives struggling with their own mental health,” said Hines.

Choosing to share his story only after being urged to by both a chaplain and a priest, Hines was initially reluctant. After his first speech to a group of college students, he received 120 letters from audience members thanking him. Six of those letters were from students who felt suicidal, but with help were able to work through their obstacles.

Hines, who has had a lifelong battle with Bipolar disorder, encourages everyone with a mental illness to create a treatment plan that works for them. “You just have to wake up and smell the coffee. If you have a serious brain disease, you have to have a good work ethic and do things that are going to make you get well,” Hines said.

Hines’ daily mental health care schedule includes waking up and going to bed at a consistent time, routine eating patterns, cardiovascular exercise and medications chosen by him and his doctor according to the most advanced treatment available.

Yearly, 5.7 million Americans are diagnosed with having Bipolar disorder and 20 million people across the country are diagnosed with a mental illness of some kind. In light of these facts, Hines feel that it is crucial for students to remember that they are not alone.

“Remember, your brain is the single most powerful organ in the human body. People in general tend to forget that the brain is an organ just like the liver or intestines. When people become sick to [sic] one of their other organs failing them, no one tells them to snap out of liver disease or heart disease, as it should have always been with a brain disease.”

Hines has been featured in the film “The Bridge,” on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and many other national and international print, radio, film and television media outlets. With his father, Hines co-founded the Bridge Rail Foundation (BRF), which works to raise the railing on the Golden Gate Bridge. Though Hines feels they still have a long way to go, he continues working to see a significant drop in suicides. You can see some of the work he has been able to do at the BRF website, BridgeRail.org

Hines will be speaking in the Student Center Grand Ballroom about his experience with suicidal thoughts and his eventual attempt to die by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge from 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. A Q & A session will follow from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.