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From saved to savior

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From saved to savior

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Hines

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Hines

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Hines

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“You must die; you must jump now; jump now!”

This internal monologue catapulted Mr. Kevin Hines off the Golden Gate Bridge and four seconds later, he was 70 feet deep in the frigid Pacific Ocean. Only 19 people have survived this fall; he is one of them.   

Mr. Hines is a best-selling author, award-winning global speaker, and suicide prevention and mental health advocate whose story has reached millions of people across the globe, inspiring them to practice a mentally healthy life.

Mr. Hines suffers from bipolar and paranoia symptoms which fermented in his childhood. He was born premature and bounced from various foster homes before finally landing in the arms of Patrick and Deborah Hines. Mr. Hines began to experience serious mental health issues in his teenage years.   

“I thought growing up, everything was going to be great,” Mr. Hines said in an interview with BuzzFeed in 2015. “At seventeen, everything came crashing down. From the extreme paranoia, I exhibited symptoms of mania. From the mania came hallucinations, both auditory and visual. With that and the bipolar disorder, I was spiraling out of control.”

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, nineteen-year-old Mr. Hines attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Against all odds, he survived the fall and was kept afloat by a sea lion.

“Something began to circle beneath me,” Mr. Hines said in an interview with Dr. Oz in 2018. “It didn’t bite me. It just circled faster and faster. I was no longer waiting to stay afloat. I’m lying afloat on my back on top of the water being kept buoyant by this thing, thinking it’s a nice shark.”  
The sea lion was able to keep Mr. Hines afloat until the Coast Guard was able to reach him just minutes before his body would set into Hypothermia. He was then brought into the hospital where he had surgery.

“One of the foremost back surgeons on the west coast was leaving, and he opted to stay,” Mr. Hines said to Dr. Oz. “And he did a surgery that is in the medical journal the first of its particular kind. He went through a 23 staple scar across my left side. He pulled out my organs, put them on my chest, and went to work with his scalpel and tools.”  

The surgery enabled Mr. Hines to stand, walk and run: all activities which could’ve been stripped away.

Out of the 19 who have survived the fall, Mr. Hines was the only survivor who would regain full physical mobility. He now dedicates his life to saving lives by spreading his message of living life mentally well.

“Of the thousands who have died off the Golden Gate bridge, I am one of the 1% who has survived,” Mr. Hines said to Dr. Oz. “I believe I was meant to be here to share my story so that I can help people all over the world of every age to find the ability to stay, to never die by their hands, and to recognize their inner resilience.”

Although Mr. Hines still suffers from paranoia and bipolar disorder, he maintains his mental health by creating a support network that helps him deal with his issues. By asking for help and reaching out to his family, Mr. Hines is able to fight his mental illnesses and live a mentally healthier life.

In 2013, Mr. Hines released his bestselling memoir: “Cracked Not Broken, Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt.” The best selling memoir has grabbed the eyes of many, especially those suffering from mental illness and thousands have already attributed Mr. Hines to saving their lives.

On February 4, Jesuit High School will have the opportunity to host Mr. Hines and hear his inspirational story, one which has impacted millions of lives throughout the world. The Jesuit community is grateful to have Mr. Hines speak and touch our hearts with his message of love and strength.

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