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Thriving in Pain: Kevin Hines’ Story of Survival + Hope (ep. 164)

Kevin Hines

John O’Leary is joined by prominent suicide awareness + prevention activist Kevin Hines and how he’s thriving in pain on the Live Inspired Podcast.

More than 1,700 people have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge with the aim of taking their own life. Today’s guest is one of the 25 known survivors.

Kevin Hines suffers from bipolar disorder with psychotic features. At 19, he was suffering silently and it resulted in his attempt to take his own life.

Today, Kevin shares about “brain pain” or mental illness and his story of hope, faith, + thriving in spite of it. One of the most prominent suicide awareness and prevention activists, Kevin’s message of striving to live “mentally well” is an urgent one you must hear.

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  • Kevin has built a close support network called his “personal protectors” aimed to keep him thriving and that will not let him fail or fall alone.
  • Kevin finds it to be a privilege to be able to defeat his mental illness, which he refers to as brain pain, daily.
  • “My goal is to go around the world and help other people thrive, just as I am, even inside the pain.”– Kevin on the importance of sharing his survival story.
  • September 25, 2000: Kevin took a bus ride to the Golden Gate Bridge with the intention to end his life.
  • After 40 minutes of walking the 1-mile suspension bridge, Kevin made the 4-second, 220 feet leap into the San Francisco Bay, immediately regretting his decision.
  • “We are all in pain. You can let pain defeat you or you can let it build you.”
  • Kevin reminds those affected by suicide that they did not die because of you. They died of unrelenting, immeasurable lethal emotion pain that had nothing to do with them.
  • Suicide has a ripple effect:
    • Positive: the ability to reach people of despair and bring them back to safety through hard work
    • Negative: after you lose someone you love, you feel so guilty you attempt or die by your own hands.
  • Move beyond the negative ripple effect:
    • Grieve together without blame or guilt.
    • Bring others together that love that person as much as you do to celebrate them.
    • Talking about the good times gives solace.
  • “We can never move on from suicide. We can move forward through the pain and find hope if we just work hard enough.”
  • “Have faith in yourself to augment your destiny. Often times all people need is time to become rational + someone to support them.”
  • “I’ve had a major transformation, but it’s ongoing.”

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Live Inspired Podcast guest Dese’Rae Stage created a movement to capture portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors and in doing so – change the conversation, culture, and resources around suicide prevention, awareness, and support. Listen to ep. 156 here.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The Rock Says by Dwayne Johnson

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Expressing my vulnerability more.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? The cross that was gifted to my mother-in-law and then my wife.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? A young Jesus and tell him “thank you”.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Mom: Kind, compassionate, loving caring, empathetic and non-judgemental to every person I came in contact with no matter their behavior toward me. Dad: Hard work, because nothing good came without it.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? You got this on lockdown. Keep moving forward

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Kevin Hines suffered the pain. In spite of the pain, despite the pain, to thrive today so he could have the ability to just try to help other people.


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