Cracked, Not Broken

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Makenna Anderson, a student mentor, shares a photo with Kevin Hines after having dinner with him and the Snow College counseling department. Photo by Melinda Lundgreen

Makenna Anderson, a student mentor, shares a photo with Kevin Hines after having dinner with him and the Snow College counseling department. Photo by Melinda Lundgreen

In an attempt to end his life, Kevin Hines hurtled himself over the Golden Gate Bridge, falling 220 feet. Surviving the fall, he is now able to share his story.

“The night before, I read that I would die upon impact,” Hines said. “I did not know that I would be the twenty-sixth person to survive a list of over two thousand who had permanently made their exits into the afterlife by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the beloved city by the bay.

Hines, who was 19 at the time of his suicide attempt, was suffering – and still is – from a bipolar disorder. This mental illness, also known as “manic-depressive illness,” causes a person to go back and forth between mania and depression.

The illness originated back when Hines was just an infant. Both Hines and his brother, Jordache, came into the world to be parented by two drug and alcohol addicts. Hines’ parents were constantly leaving the two newborns in unhealthy environments, as well as attempting to nourish them through Kool-Aid and Coca-Cola. Hines eventually found out that both of his biological parents also suffered from severe mental health problems.

From the age of three months to nine months, there are many psychological developments, and to Hines, his life was utterly affected by how his birth parents raised him as an infant.

After his brother died of bronchitis at a very young age, Hines went from one foster home to another, eventually being adopted into a loving family.

“At 17 and a half years old, this Mack truck hit me. My mental illness hit me. It started with paranoia,” said Hines.

Hines did not talk to anyone about his paranoia, and without proper help, serious mental health issues ensued.

On September 24, 2000, the night before Hines attempted suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge, he sat in his room, alone, coming up with ideas on how to end his life.

“On that night I believed I had to die. My brain told me I had no other choice,” said Hines.

As many have done before since it was put up in 1937, Hines decided he was going to end his life by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“In all honesty, I, Kevin Hines, never wanted to die. It was not my rational, conscious choice or decision. I believed I had to. Compelled by my bipolar disorder, my brain illness, I was to complete this terrible act,” said Hines.

After spending all of the money he had on him to get to the bridge, it was time for Hines to carry out his plan. Walking back to the traffic railing to get a running start, Hines ran and threw himself over the bridge railing, sending himself downwards into the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay.

Kevin Hines, a man who jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge and lived, tells his story to the community. Photo by Melinda Lundgreen

Kevin Hines, a man who jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge and lived, tells his story to the community. Photo by Melinda Lundgreen

“I reached back for the rail. It wasn’t there,” said Hines. “In the midst of my free fall, I said to myself these words I thought no one would ever hear me repeat: ‘What have I done? I don’t want to die. God please save me!’”

Shattering his two lower vertebrae, Hines was immobilized in the San Francisco Bay, barely holding onto his life. If it weren’t for someone who called the Coast Guard immediately after seeing Hines leap off of the bridge, he wouldn’t be alive today.

Hines now is an advocate speaker on suicide awareness, and believes that it’s a widespread problem that can be prevented. To learn more about Hines’ story, visit www.kevinhinesstory.com.

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