Kevin Hines inspires suicide prevention

Hundreds of people came to “An Evening with Kevin Hines” at Topeka Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13. Hines shared his own story of pain, hope and recovery, as a Golden Gate Bridge jump survivor.

Hines survived his own suicide attempt, jumping off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in 2000.

More than 2000 people have attempted to take their own lives by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Hines is one of only 36, less than one percent, to survive the fall. He’s the only Golden Gate Bridge jump survivor who is actively spreading the message of living mentally healthy around the global.

His miraculous survival was result of many factors. A sea lion kept him afloat until the Coast Guard arrived.

“Suicide is never the solution to my problem,” said Hines. “It is the problem. I deserve this life until my natural end.”

After that, he’s dedicated his life to helping others understand why young people try to die by suicide. He now travels the world sharing his own stories of pain, hope and recovery. He talks about what he learned about why people try to take their own lives. He teaches people of all ages the art of wellness and the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

Suicide is a tragedy that can happen on any family at any time. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, the color of your skin, what religion you are or which part of town you live in.

“The conversation is the key to helping anyone,” said Sarah Mitchell, a board member of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Providing opportunities like this lets people know the community does care and it’s time to do something.”

Hines believes in the power of the human spirit and in the fact that people can find the ability to live mentally well. His mantra is that “Life is a gift, that is why they call it the present. Cherish it always.”

In the past four years, 17 Shawnee County children have died by suicide. The youngest was 11 years old.

“There is no guilt to be had, there is not blame to be laid,” said Hines. “Let’s go home today and be kind, compassionate, loving, caring, empathetic and not judgmental to every single individual in this room.”

Guests of the night had a better understanding of the mindset of a suicidal person and learn what people can do to prevent youth deaths by suicide in the community.

Hines was presented by the “Suicide: Talk about it. Save a life” initiative made up of Family Service & Guidance Center, all Shawnee County school districts, Hayden High School and the Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Family Service & Guidance Center’s Crisis Services can be reached 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling (785) 232-5005.