By Frances Weller | November 17, 2020 at 12:57 PM EST – Updated November 17 at 1:06 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Kevin Hines says the moment he jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge he knew he had made a terrible mistake.
“The millisecond my hands left the rail, it was instant regret for my actions,” Hines says.
On September 25, 2000, Hines took a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to attempt what close to 2,000 people have done since the bridge was built in 1933. He wanted to kill himself. At least that’s what the voices in his head were telling him to do.
“I didn’t make a decision like you would make a decision to have a slice or pizza or go to a certain school or take a certain job. I was compelled to die by the voices in my head telling me that I had to,” he recalled.
Deep down inside, Hines, who had been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, was crying out for help.
“I’d been hoping, wishing and praying that one person would see my pain and say ‘hey kid, are you okay. Is there something I can do to help you?’ I made a pact with myself that day that if one person intervenes, I’ll tell them everything and beg them to save me,” he says.
No one did, so he leaped off the bridge.
“In four seconds, you’re falling at 90 miles an hour—nearly the speed of terminal velocity is what you reach before you hit the water. It is a 220-foot drop. That’s 25 stories,” Hines said.
The impact of the fall was severe. He fractured an ankle and shattered two vertebrae in his back, but he miraculously survived the fall.
“I bobbled up and down in the water and I said ‘God please save me. I don’t want to die. I made a mistake.’ I didn’t want to die that day. I didn’t want to die,” he says.
He says his saving grace—his angel—was a sea lion.
“A sea lion literally circled beneath me, keeping me afloat until the Coast Guard arrived.”
Hines now travels across the country speaking about his suicide attempt to offer hope and healing while teaching people who have considered suicide how to survive the pain.
“You know that can only be the wish, the hope and the prayer is to help someone find the light at the end of the tunnel so they can survive their pain so that they can continue on so they can be here tomorrow so they can truly find the realization that they matter–that they hold value–that they are worthy and that suicide is never the solution to their problem. It is the problem.”
Hines will speak at the Hope for the Hopeless virtual event Thursday hosted by Coastal Horizons Center. The event will be broadcast live on WECT’s Facebook page from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information on how to join the virtual event and listen to Hines, click here.
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