“I Don’t Want to Die! I Made A Mistake”

The Kevin Hines Story

“God, please save me. I don’t want to die. I made a mistake.” That was a part of the prayer that Hines prayed in his moment of instant regret after attempting suicide. September 25, 2000 was the most unimaginable day for Hines. Around 10a.m. is when he felt that he would end it all.

“Are you okay? Is something wrong? Can I help you?” Those were the questions that he so desperately wanted to hear as he stood over the Golden Gate Bridge, looking over the 4 ft rail ready to jump . . . or so he thought. What stood out to me, is hearing him say that he immediately wanted to reverse what he had done. He didn’t really want to die. “God, please save me. I don’t want to die. God, please save me. I don’t want to die. I made a mistake.” Yes, regret! Regret after landing. It made me wonder how many others who have taken their lives prayed for another chance, but unlike Hines . . . not able to tell their story. That’s what’s so brilliant and powerful about this story. He’s on a mission to be a voice for the voiceless and for those who at a moment of deep, dark and seemingly unshakable sadness, missed the opportunity to BE HERE TOMORROW.

In Suicide: A Ripple Effect, Hines is not just speaking of what happened in that moment. He rewinds to tell us how he got to that dark place. Please take a moment to learn more about Kevin Hines — a brave, powerful storyteller who’s thriving and surviving.

Jane: Kevin, let’s rewind a bit. What was life like for you growing up?

Kevin: Growing up from childhood to adolescent to young adulthood, life was fantastic . . . beautiful family, wonderful home, very privileged to have that. It was my infancy that was traumatic. I’m adopted and my infancy was spent where my birth parents would leave me and my brother unattended to score or sell drugs. They had been diagnosed with manic depression which is the very same brain disease that I would develop at seventeen.

Jane: When did you first start to feel like something was wrong? Was it your first breakdown you had your junior year in high school?

Kevin: It was my junior year in high school [when everything came crashing down].

Jane: Out of all of your gloomy days, your darkest moments; what made you decide to attempt suicide on September 25, 2000?

Kevin: Well Jamie, I always say I never decided any of that. I was compelled to die because of my disease and because of voices in my head-auditory hallucination (most likely from infant trauma) that were telling me I had to die and telling me I should die and telling me to die.

Jane: Walk us through what you were thinking while looking over the bridge besides the obvious. Were you thinking about your family, friends, etc.?

Kevin: I wasn’t thinking about my family. I wasn’t thinking about my friends. Not because I don’t love them. Jamie, if you could understand, in this state of mind . . . all you can see through this tunnel vision is death. You feel like you don’t have value. You feel like you are unworthy of anyone’s love. You feel like you are absolutely worthless and without hope. And, in those states of mind; Jamie, you’re not thinking about any one human being outside of your own maddened brain. You can only feel the pain. To that notion, I always say to people who don’t understand . . . think about it like this: If you find yourself one day in excruciating physical pain, what do you want that pain to do?

Jane: Go away.

Kevin: You want it to stop. You want it to go away. Exactly! It is the same. Imagine it being 30,000 times worst for brain pain. I can say that because I’ve been in extreme physical pain and it never came close to what I battle with this.

Jane: There was a woman who approached you, wanting you to take her pictures before you jumped. You said she was there to create happy memories. You were there to die. While you were snapping those five pictures as she posed, I’m sure she had no clue what you were about to do. Is depression usually that hard to detect?

Kevin: Well, I think it’s very hard to detect unless that person is outwardly showing that psychosis or that depression and the pain. Often times we find ourselves; certainly I did, in the thick of denial and we end up trying to pretend to everyone around us that we’re fine. And, that’s the biggest mistake . . . to falsely pretend that you got it under control when you are falling out of control at every turnaround, you know?

Jane: Do you know how long you were in the water before help arrive?

Kevin: I was told about anywhere between ten to twelve minutes which is right before one would get hyperthermia in those waters

Jane: Can you tell everyone why you didn’t drown?

Kevin: In the water, you can barely stay afloat. Something begin circling beneath me and I immediately went to the thought of, “Oh my gosh! I didn’t die off that bridge and now the shark is about to devour me whole.” It turned out that I was on a television program on ABC. It’s called Primetime Live. It turned out, it was no shark. It was a sea lion circling beneath me, keeping me afloat until the coast guard arrived. People have suggested that, that was a delusion, but just recently there was an investigative journalist . . . what she found out in all of her investigation was that not only did this gentleman, Morgan tell ABC that not only was the sea lion keeping me afloat, two other people subsequently on the day of the attempt went to the Coast Guard office and reported the exact same thing. But, this gentleman, Morgan (I won’t {say} his last name), wrote in and said, “Kevin, I am so grateful that you are alive. I was standing less than two feet from you when you jumped. Until this day, watching this show, no one would ever tell me whether you lived or died. It haunted me until now. And, by the way, Kevin; there was no shark like you mentioned you thought there was on the show, but there was a sea lion.”

Jane: What makes traveling and sharing your story fulfilling?

Kevin: Oh my gosh! Jamie, it’s extremely fulfilling because of the people that end up sharing their stories with me and sharing their pain. At the film premiere, there was a woman who handed me a note. The note said, “You just saved my son.” I think what she meant was (that night) watching the movie with her son did the trick because apparently he had said to her that this really changes everything.

Jane: Is there a message that you would like to give to families who are experiencing what you have been through and what you are going through?

Kevin: Families who are going through this with a loved one that they love dearly, NEVER GIVE UP ON THAT LOVED ONE. They are in a world of pain. What they need right now more than anything else is unconditional, unwavering love. If we can give them that to the best of our ability, we can help our loved ones stay here. And, if we just let them know that when they’re going through this mental brain pain, it’s okay. It happens all over the world every single day and we’re going to support you nonetheless. And I think also letting them know that just because you’re in a whirl of pain today doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a beautiful tomorrow. In my opinion, you have to be here to get there in the first place. And finally; let them recognize that they are truly resilient creatures because they’ve made it this far in the first place.

GREG DICHARRY (CO-PRODUCER): Kevin Hines and Greg Dicharry directed and produced, Suicide: A Ripple Effect together.

Jane: How did you and Kevin Hines connect to share his story?

Greg: We met probably about nine years ago. I was working ( as I still do) in mental health. One of my colleagues had arranged a screening of the documentary, The Bridge which Kevin was in. That’s when I first saw him then about six months later, I met him at a conference and over the years we would see each other at national mental health conferences and then we would develop a friendship. We talked about how we each had a passion for film. I had done film back in the day in college. He had talked about wanting to do this documentary and we teamed up almost three years ago now.

Jane: So, you were working at a mental health facility?

Greg: I am a National Youth Empowerment Director and I started to focus on behavioral health primarily, but I started a youth program for them back in 2008 called, My Life which is geared toward young people, teenagers and young adults who experienced mental health . . . and have other challenges. I started that in Arizona and now it’s in five states around the country.

Jane: What inspired you to do that? Did you know anyone who dealt with any mental illness or behavioral issues?

Greg: Yes, myself. I was diagnosed when I was twenty-five with being bipolar after I had my first of many very serious panic episodes and after those I would be hospitalized. The first time was for three weeks. I would be really, really high and they would bring me down with drugs and hospitalization and then I would go into these really deep, dark depressions where I would experience suicidal (thoughts). In 2004, when I had gotten serious about my own recovery; I had begin helping people in similar circumstances.

Jane: Can you explain for those who don’t know, what it means to be bipolar? In some communities, people look at others as maybe they’re just acting out. So, explain the symptoms to those who may not be educated about this.

Greg: It varies for each individual and there are different severities. (There are) extreme highs and extreme lows. Some people, like in my case, I may had extreme manic episodes. Delusional. Almost like being on drugs, sleep a lot less. There’s also depression that can vary from person to person. It really kind of varies, but not necessary everyone who attempts suicide has those specific mental health diagnosis as Kevin does or even I do.

Jane: Were you at all nervous you wouldn’t capture the importance, authenticity and energy of such a powerful message?

Greg: It was a team effort of (Kevin and I). My goal was to give it some excitement and entertainment value in kind of a unique and interactive way, so it wouldn’t be just sit-down interviews from person to person. I wanted to capture that real life aspect of things so that it was authentic.

Jane: What has the experience of producing, Suicide: The Ripple Effect been like for you?

Greg: It definitely has been a journey and a challenge. Both Kevin and I, over the last two and half, three years have have had our own full time jobs that would take us both on the road a lot. More so Kevin than I, but it was a huge blessing.

Jane: Thanks to Kevin and Greg!

People around the globe are utilizing the film as a tool to help enhance suicide prevention efforts to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts in their communities. Suicide: The Ripple Effect, was officially released in select theaters around the world this week with over 35 screenings held in 3 countries, wth over 3500 people seeing the film.

The film is being distributed in the US via Gathr Films’ Theatrical on Demand platform. This platform allows people to host screening events in theaters in their own communities at no cost to them and the screenings can eb used to raise funds for local non-profits. To learn how you can host a screening, please visit http://www.suicidetherippleeffect.com