Panel discusses living in the aftermath of suicide

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Two of our guests come together this week to offer varying perspectives on the internal and external effects of mental illness.  After struggling with bipolar disorder and depression, at 19 years-old, Kevin Hines attempted to end his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.  Miraculously, he survived.  At 12 years-old, Eric Marcus lost his father to suicide, and three decades later his sister-in-law took her own life. 

Both Hines and Marcus have written about their life-changing experiences.  Hines’ memoir, “Cracked But Not Broken,” describes his lifelong journey with type 1 bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies.  In it, he described the day he decided to jump from the bridge and the path that eventually led him to live a life devoted to helping others, rather than harming himself.

Marcus’ book, “Why Suicide?,” focuses on answering questions that people might have about suicide or mental disorders but are perhaps too afraid to ask.  It’s a guide that Marcus himself wishes he had access to when he was coping with the loss of his father at age 12 and attempting to help family members years later.

“In the aftermath you can only imagine the kind of blame that went from relative to relative,” said Marcus.  “Everyone blamed my mother, I blamed my uncle, and everyone blamed themselves.  The challenge for them at the time in 1970 is that there was nowhere to get help.”

Panel discusses living in the aftermath of suicide

Panel discusses living in the aftermath of suicide

Two of our guests come together this week to offer varying perspectives on the internal and external effects of mental illness. After struggling with bipolar disorder and depression, at 19 years-old, Kevin Hines attempted to end his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Miraculously, he survived. At 12 years-old, Eric Marcus lost his father to suicide, and three decades later his sister-in-law took her own life.
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Nearly 40,000 people die from suicide every year, yet professionals believe that mental illness is not seen by the public as a health threat like other diseases.  Both of our panelists are on a mission to change that perception.

Kevin Hines has spoken in front of audiences of tens of thousands about his experience and has seen the impact of his story on their lives.  Eric Marcus now serves as a Senior Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“If we go back to the younger kids, starting the fifth grade, talking about prevention and mental health awareness on a regular curriculum in our schools, eventually the tide would change because everyone would grow up educated about mental illness,” Hines said.

Marcus and Hines sat down with Mike Walter to recount their experiences and look towards the future of the global dialogue on mental health issues.

Follow Kevin Hines on Twitter: @KevinHinesStory

Follow Eric Marcus and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Twitter: @whysuicide, @afspnational

Panel on Suicide1