A powerful personal story lies behind the motivational message delivered by Kevin Hines, an award-winning global speaker, best-selling author, documentary filmmaker and suicide prevention and mental health advocate. Hines will speak in Grant County Oct. 18.
On Sept. 24, 2000, two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Hines attempted to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Thousands of people have jumped from the bridge, and less than 1 percent have survived.
Hines, 19 years old at the time, shattered several vertebrae and lacerated most of his lower organs. A Coast Guard boat rescued him from the frigid waters, and experimental surgery removed nearly all physical evidence of the fall on his body.
His will to live and stay mentally well has inspired people worldwide. Hines has spoken to high school and college students, clinicians and corporations, military personnel and policymakers.
Hines’ first book, “Cracked Not Broken,” was released in 2013, and he was featured in the documentary film “The Bridge.” He has received numerous awards from mental health organizations and more than 30 U.S. military excellence medals as a civilian.
He told the Eagle he’s familiar with Grant County’s economic problems and high suicide rate.
“It’s a problem sweeping the nation right now,” he said.
Hines said he won’t be there just to provide rhetoric. He will provide teachable content for people who are feeling pain and are in a dark moment right now. After 18 years of hard work, he has developed 10 science-informed steps people can follow called “The Art of Wellness.”
The steps are not new or special, he said, but they are effective and can be viewed for free on YouTube. He acknowledged that dealing with suicide is not easy. It’s about engaging the entire community, at all levels and occupations, he said.
Hines said he firmly believes in his mission and has seen his practices work. It’s important to show a commitment to a person and develop interpersonal connections to succeed, he said.
Hines will bring his message of positive attitude during a community forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Grant County Fairgrounds pavilion.