From depths of de­spair, a rea­son to live

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION -

Kevin Hines ar­rives in Ham­burg to­day, bear­ing pre­cious wit­ness. He of­fers the rarest of all per­spec­tives in a na­tion where the sui­cide rate climbed by 33 per­cent be­tween 1999 and 2017, where in­for­ma­tion re­leased by the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion in­di­cates sui­cide is the sec­ond-lead­ing cause of death for Amer­i­cans be­tween 10 and 34.

Hines made the choice to take his own life. In 2000, at 19, he rode a bus to San Fran­cisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a place where at least 1,500 are be­lieved to have died by sui­cide over the last 82 years. Hines, weep­ing and dis­traught, climbed over the rail­ing at a point about 220 feet above the wa­ter.

It took him about 4 sec­onds to reach bot­tom. The cold air, the fast des­cent, blew ev­ery­thing out of his mind but one clear thought: He wanted to live.

The odds, by astro­nom­i­cal mea­sure, were against that, as he will tell his au­di­ence at 7 p.m. Thurs­day in the Ham­burg High School au­di­to­rium. A

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