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Kevin Hines Visits Lincoln

During Mental Illness Awareness Week, we had the opportunity to attend Bryan Medical Center’s Community Leader Breakfast with guest speaker Kevin Hines. Hine’s story is one of struggle and remarkable survival.

Hines attempted to end his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge at the young age of 19. He was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder with psychotic features previous to his attempt and the depression and psychosis became more than he could bear. Hines explains that he never wanted to die; he simply didn’t think living with the mental pain was possible any longer.

He recalls the events leading up to the moment his hands left the rail. As his body plummeted towards the water below, he knew he made a mistake and prayed to God to save him. Hines is one of only 34 people who have lived through the 220 foot leap. It is believed that since the bridges opening in 1937, there have been more than 1,500 suicides . . . and many experts believe that this number is grossly under estimated.

“Life is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Cherish it always,” said Hines.

His message of hope during time of darkness and despair is not one I will ever forget. I recently read his memoir “Cracked Not Broken,” and I highly recommend reading it if you are interested in hearing about his journey to health and advocacy. Hines was even gracious enough to pose for photos and autograph my copy of his book, along with the phrase, “Hope helps heal.”

That is a phrase that he has clearly come to understand.

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About Jill Sauser-Hamilton, The Kim Foundation Project Coordinator
Jill graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Speech Communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. During her time at UNO, she completed a two year PR practicum program where she worked with numerous nonprofit clients including the MS Society, The Archdiocese of Omaha, The Omaha Food Bank, and YWCA. Since becoming Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation in April 2014, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, the Metro Area LOSS Team, and is helping lead a community-wide health improvement initiative with the Douglas County Health Department called, “Just Reach Out,” which is focused on improving the people’s view on mental and behavioral health treatment.