One Monday in September of 2000, Kevin Hines, then 19, took a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge, climbed over the railing and jumped. In the split second after his hands left the rail, he thought “What have I done? I don’t want to die.”
Miraculously, he didn’t.
Hines will tell his incredible story of survival at UMW’s Dodd Auditorium on Monday, Nov. 19, from 6 to 7 p.m. His presentation, Living Mentally Well, centers on wellness and suicide prevention. The event is free and open to the public.
In his fateful leap 18 years ago, Hines plummeted more than 200 feet, falling at a speed of about 75 miles per hour. He hit the water and, through the agonizing pain (he’d later learn he’d shattered several vertebrae in his spine upon impact), broke the surface. He struggled to keep himself afloat, at one point clinging to what witnesses thought could be a sea lion. When the Coast Guard was finally able to rescue him, Hines became one of fewer than 40 (less than 1 percent) to ever survive an attempted suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Today, Hines, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder not long before his leap from the iconic San Francisco bridge, is a motivational speaker who spreads a message of hope, healing and the art of living mentally well. He also is an advocate for those with mental illness.
The recipient of numerous honors, Hines is an award-winning global speaker, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker, who also is pushing for a suicide barrier at the Golden Gate Bridge, set to be completed by 2021.
His works include his memoir, Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt and documentary, Suicide: The Ripple Effect. Currently working on a docu-series called The Journey and a comic book version of his life titled Hope Dealers, he lives by his motto: Be here tomorrow, and every day after that.
Hines sits on the boards of the International Bipolar Foundation, Bridge Rail Foundation, Mental Health Association of San Francisco and Survivors Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Living Mentally Well is co-sponsored by UMW’s Department of Athletics, College of Arts & Sciences, Talley Center for Counseling Services, and by the offices of Student Affairs, Student Involvement, Student Activities and Student Life. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.