Kevin Hines was just 19-years-old when he attempted to commit suicide by jumping off San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Suffering from bipolar disorder and paranoia, he saw no other way to escape the voices in his head. But as soon as his feet left the ground, he admits to feeling "instant regret."
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"I said to myself, 'What have I done, I don't want to die, God please save me,'" the 34-year-old reveals of that day in September of 2000. "The moment I hit freefall... I recognized that I made the greatest mistake in my life and I thought it was too late."
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After falling 220 feet into the water and crushing three vertebrae, Hines managed to stay afloat long enough for the Coast Guard to rescue him.
After seven in-patient stays at psychiatric care facilities, he decided to share his story in a memoir titled, Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt.
"My goal is to try to instill hope in one individual. So that one individual says, 'Maybe I can stay here, maybe there are tools to fight this,'" Hines tells People magazine.
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He recently spoke at the University of Pennsylvania where 10 students have committed suicide in three years. "[People need] to hear what I needed to hear," he says. "That we care about you, your life does matter and that all we want is for you to stay."
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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