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I survived my suicide

Australian Women's Weekly logo Australian Women's Weekly 1/05/2016
© Provided by Australian Women's Weekly

Kevin Hines survived suicide and has gone on to help others.

It was bleak day when Kevin Hines jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge, and the second he leapt to his fate, he regretted it he told PEOPLE.

"I said to myself, 'What have I done, I don't want to die, God please save me,' '' recalls Hines, 34, of his attempted suicide September 2000. "The moment I hit freefall was an instant regret – I recognized that I made the greatest mistake in my life and I thought it was too late."

Miraculously, Hines survived the fall. Hines has bipolar disorder, and now lives a balanced life using a combination of medication, therapy, and exercise as he travels the world sharing his story in a desire to help anyone else who may be feeling like the days are too bleak to continue.

"My goal is to try to instil hope in one individual," Hines tells PEOPLE. "So that one individual says, 'Maybe I can stay here, maybe there are tools to fight this.' "

Hines went on write a book about his suicide attempt and recovery called Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt and has helped dozens of people over the last 16 years.

Now, he is making a documentary entitled Suicide: The rippled effect featuring some of the people whose lives he has made worth living for.

Hines crushed and shattered three vertebrae after the 220-foot fall, so even though he survived the fall, drowning became a very real likelihood.

"When I resurfaced and I was trying to stay afloat, I was thinking, 'I am going to drown.' As I was bobbing up and down in the water, I was saying, 'I don't want to die, God I made a mistake,' " he recalls.

He says a seal kept pushing him above water until the Coast Guard pulled him from the water. He then had surgery followed by psychiatric care – the first of seven in-patient stays to deal with his depression, paranoia and hallucinations.

Although he has gone on to live a full life and marry a woman he adores, Hines admits he still struggles with his mental health and he hopes that sharing his story will inspire others not to feel shame and to get help if they need it.

New Zealand readers seeking help with issues raised in this story please contact: Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999 within Auckland. Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234.

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