Instant Regret – The Kevin Hines Story
There are over 2,000 documented cases of people jumping off the Golden State Bridge to commit suicide since it opened in 1937. About every two weeks someone jumps off that bridge. 99% of those who jump do not survive. 38 have reportedly lived. On September 25, 2000, Kevin Hines became the 25th person to survive the jump.
Kevin was adopted by the Hines family as an infant. He had epileptic seizures and was put on medication until the age of 16 when doctors decided the medication was no longer necessary. However, he began to exhibit signs of bipolar disorder and experienced hallucination and paranoia. He felt like he was a burden and that no one cared about him. So, on one particular Monday morning, he jumped on a bus that took him to the Golden Gate Bridge. As he sat on the bus, “crying his eyes out,” he told himself that he wouldn’t do it if anyone expressed any concern for him. That care and that compassion did not come from anyone on the bus or on the bridge. So, Kevin jumped.
At the moment that his hands left the railing, he expressed instant regret. He fell 220 feet at 75 mph, saying to himself, “Please God save me. I don’t want to die. I made a mistake.” He immediately broke his vertebrae and shot down 70 feet into the water. He kept saying his prayer as he swam to the surface without the use of his legs. Within minutes he was rescued by the Coast Guard, saving him from certain death by hypothermia.
Sitting in his hospital bed, he told his dad, “I’m sorry.” His father, responded, “No Kevin. I’m sorry.” Kevin didn’t want to die. He was suffering from mental illness. His perception of reality told him that no one cared, when in reality, everyone cared. He just couldn’t see it. Kevin has since dedicated his life to helping to stop teenage suicide. He presents his story day after day at high schools across America. He has films, documentaries and Youtube videos.
His message is clear. After researching and speaking to hundreds of people who survived their suicide attempt, there is one universal response from all of these individuals – regret. These people didn’t want to die. These people just felt depressed, lonely or isolated. They felt like no one cared. These individuals needed help, but didn’t know how to ask for it.
Joe’s Perspective: I have been writing blogs since 2012, writing over 300 posts. Until today, I have never written about suicide. And yet, Kevin reminds us that “more teens die by suicide than by heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, pneumonia, the flu, cancer, and lung disease combined.” In this pandemic when we are going to such extremes to stop a virus that has a 99.998% survival rate for teens, more and more teenagers are dying by their own hand. For comparison sakes, 656 teenagers have died from Covid in almost 2 years of this pandemic and 6,241 teenagers died from suicide in 2019. By the way, 5,016 of those suicides were male. According to a recent CDC study, 8.9 percent of high school students surveyed attempted suicide, 18.8 percent of high school students “seriously considered” attempting suicide and suicide is now the second leading cause of death for 16-20 year olds. More teenagers are feeling stressed, depressed and isolated during this period of time, and we need to be there fore each other.
There is one other fact that we have learned from people who attempted and/or committed suicide. Most of them left warning signs. They literally told people or hinted at it. My hope is if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or believe someone you know is suicidal, please tell someone. Tell a parent, a teacher, a friend, a coach or anyone. Please get help. Please understand that this pain is temporary. There is also help for mental illness. Kevin is living proof. He is now married to the love of his life and he has two beautiful children to cherish.
Your Turn: What are your thoughts about Kevin and his struggle with suicide?