Suicide Survivor Kicks off Mental Health Awareness Month With a Visit to SWHS


Courtney Bawden

Speaker Kevin Hines spread the message of resilience and hope to the students of SWHS. Many students were impacted enough to stay after and thank Hines for his words. Photo by Courtney Bawden.

Madisun Tobisch, Editor

Suicide survivor Kevin Hines has made it his mission to spread awareness and hope to those battling with mental health problems. He has toured the nation sharing his story and implanting the message that there are people in everyone’s lives that care about their wellbeing and hope to see them live through another day. Last month Hines brought that message to Sedro-Woolley High School.

“Kevin’s speech made a huge impact on me. I personally have been through a lot of mental health problems and have lost very close friends to suicide, said SWHS junior Rileigh Miller.
“I know how Kevin had felt, so it hit home knowing that someone else has felt similar pain.”
Hines presentation before the student body sparked a conversation about how students can help support each other to live to see tomorrow.

Hines jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in an attempt to end his life in 2000. After a lifetime of battling with auditory and visual bipolar hallucinations, Hines felt that death was his only way out.
He explained that immediately after he jumped he wished for nothing more than to go back and undo what he had just done- but it was too late.

Hines is part of the one percent of Golden Gate Bridge survivors. After a long and grueling recovery process, Hines knew that he had to share his experience in the hopes of preventing someone else from making the same mistake.
Miller felt that the assembly was much needed for SWHS students. “So many students have felt the way that Kevin did,” said Miller.

Hines time at Sedro-Woolley focused on strategies that can be used to help those who suffer from mental health issues. Positive affirmation is the repetition of positive phrases that can manifest into healthy life changes. Hines had the students of Sedro-Woolley High School repeat after him as he affirmed his purpose and self worth.
After Kevin’s speech many students lingered and shared their own personal stories with Hines and took photos and shared embraces with one another.

Mental health among high school students has become an increasingly discussed topic in recent years. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents aged 15 to 19.
Hines believes that tackling the subject of mental health early on could help lower that statistic, and that mental health education should start as early as the third and fourth grade level.

“It’s in a way that talks about brain pain and hurt inside and emotions,” said Hines after the assembly.
“Helping third and fourth grade children recognize their value at that age helps them build a sense of resilience as they move forward.”

Hines believes that children today lack two of what he considers the most important tools for battling against mental health.
“Resilience and gratitude are what can keep you here. If you can be grateful for the pain you can always defeat it.”
Hines offers support on his website and promises to reply to every comment on his Youtube channel.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness and is need of support call the suicide prevention hot line at 1-800-273-8255