Golden Gate Bridge Suicides - In Their Own Words

“The morning I jumped, I had been in a deep depression for days. This was a result of bipolar disorder for which I was taking a number of medications. My father sensed something was wrong, but I brushed him off. I left the house, grabbed a last meal of Skittles and Starbursts, and took Muni to the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I was a mess on the bridge, crying and disoriented. No one stopped to ask what was wrong. Finally, a tourist with a heavy European accent came up to me with a camera and asked if I would take her picture. I agreed. Five snapshots later, I was still crying and she was done and gone. I knew then that no one cared. I took a step back and hurled myself over the short rail.

“Once airborne, I had four seconds left. I knew immediately that I did not want to die. Thoughts racing, I tried to angle my body to survive. I guessed right. I hit the water at 75 miles per hour and did not lose consciousness. I tried to swim to the surface, but my legs were numb and useless. My arms were enough to get me to the surface, but I could not stay afloat. Suddenly, I felt a large sea animal brush against me. Great, I thought, I jump off the bridge and now a shark will eat me. Witnesses later told me it was a sea lion, nudging me to the surface.

“The Coast Guard picked me out of the water, checked me out, and shipped me off to Marin General Hospital. I had multiple injuries and it was not clear that I would survive the next 24 hours.

“My hospital stay lasted for weeks. One regular visitor was a Franciscan monk. He suggested that I was spared for a reason, perhaps to tell my story, maybe to help put an end to almost 70 years of preventable deaths off the Golden Gate Bridge. I didn’t know then—but I do now—that he was right. For the past 15 years I have been telling my story to thousands of students, parents, and others. I also have been counseling at-risk youth and adding my voice to those of Bridge Rail Foundation and other groups advocating for a suicide barrier on the bridge.”

Kevin Hines


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