SYDNEY, Australia – A man who tried to take his own life, by jumping off the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge but who was kept floating by a sea lion, expressed that suicide prevention is now his goal in life as a mental health advocate.
Kevin Hines, speaking at several conferences in Australia, was a teenager struggling with mental illness and depression when he jumped off the prominent bridge in 2000.
He was surprised to see that the sea lion was the one who saved him after his jumping into the water.
“I was freaking out in those waters. And I was thinking I didn’t die there and now I am going to die here in the water because of a creature of some sort,” he explained.
“I really thought it was a shark and I thought it was going to take off a leg and I was panicking. And then it just didn’t, it just kept circling beneath me. I remember floating atop the water and this thing just bumping me, bumping me up.”
On that day, Hines later spoke to a man who had been on the bridge and who witnessed that it was not a shark, but it was a sea lion that saved him.
“Everyone who looked down saw this creature circling in a clockwise motion beneath me. So they saw me lying atop the water and being bumped. This thing beneath me didn’t stop or didn’t go away until I heard the boat behind me.”
He believes that another reason why he survived was the woman who was driving past the bridge.
According to Hines, without the woman’s call, the coastguard might not have known his exact location and might not have gotten to him before hypothermia or his injuries, including serious back problems, caused him to drown.
“I’m one of less than one percent to have survived that fall,” he acknowledged. Many of the survivors never regain full mobility as he had; claiming that he had been given the gift of a second chance of life so many times.
Hines, who is now 33 years old, is currently a mental health advocate who delivers talks at events around the world in a bid to prevent people from taking their own lives.
“This is absolutely my life’s passion and my life’s work,” he added.
“Wha I’m really talking about here is, it crosses all boundaries… every race, creed, color. Everyone is touched by this somehow; some way… suicide prevention is everyone’s business.”
In a study last September 2014 made by the World Health Organization (WHO), intentionally taking one’s life is second leading cause of death among the youth in the world and depression is identified to be the main cause.
There are different signs and symptoms of depression that a person may experience. Some of the identified signs posted at Students Against Depression, includes persistent low mood, lethargy, decreased appetite, restlessness, hopelessness and pessimism among others. The immediate thing to do if you notice something unusual is to consult a doctor or a counselor to discuss your concerns.
Let’s hear from Kevin Hines: