Jacqueline Dean was a toll collector on the Golden Gate Bridge for 18 years, and was laid off when the bridge switched to an all-electronic tolling system. She shares some of her favorite.
Trigger warning: this episode includes conversations about suicide. To mark World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th), I am honoured to share the story of Kevin Hines – one of the only people in the world to survive jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. This is one of the few interviews that brought me to tears. Kevin’s story hits home because I – like so many others - have battled with my own mental health struggles and thoughts of self-harm. Nearly 2,000 people have committed suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened in 1937. It is a suicide attempt that is 99% fatal. The 4-second fall can be compared to the force of slamming into a concrete wall at 120km/hr. If jumpers don’t die from impact trauma, they succumb to hypothermia or drowning. Thankfully, Kevin’s experience has a different ending. At 19 years old, after years of battling several undiagnosed mental illnesses, Kevin made his way to the bridge, with thoughts of jumping but hopes of a stranger asking if he was okay. Because nobody spotted the signs of his distress, Kevin threw himself over the rail. In a remarkable turn of events, Kevin’s attempt to take his life was unsuccessful after a SEA LION circled him and kept him afloat until the Coast Guard arrived. While Kevin’s story has a happy ending, but this isn’t the case for the 800,000 people who die due to suicide each year. If you are thinking about suicide, please speak to a trusted friend or family member, a qualified professional, or call a suicide crisis helpline. Visit www.suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.