Suicide survivor shares his experience to help others
Kevin Hines was in Calgary on Monday to talk about his suicide attempt, how he survived depression and how others can keep from making the same mistake.
He made a film about that day in September 2000 when he decided to end his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, something he regretted the moment it happened. Miraculously, he survived.
“I was shocked into reality of my psychosis, instant regret and the recognition I just made the greatest mistake of my life,” he said.
Hines says he was diagnosed as bipolar and was experiencing hallucinations and delusions, but never told anyone that he was feeling depressed. After the attempt, he spent a decade in and out of psychiatric facilities. Now that he finally has his symptoms under control, he travels the world encouraging people to talk openly about mental illness.
“I would ask them to not let this be their silent killer, I would ask them to find the strength within to tell people about their suicidal thoughts,” he said.
Professionals in the mental health field agree that open dialogue is the best way to help people struggling with mental illness.
“It’s very common to have thoughts of suicide and what you need to know is you're not alone,” said Mara Grunau, Centre for Suicide Prevention. “People who consider suicide or attempt or even die by suicide don’t actually want to die, they're not choosing to die, they're in deep psychological pain and they want out of the pain and they don’t see another way.”
The Centre for Suicide Prevention says more Albertans die by suicide than car crashes. Last year, 543 people in this province took their own lives, up from 2014, and the rate is expected to rise again this year, as research shows a rise in unemployment leads to a rise in suicides.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 403-266-4357 to reach the Distress Centre.