On the 14 March I was fortunate enough to go to a screening of “Suicide: The Ripple Effect”, a feature length documentary film focusing on the devastating effects of suicide. I must admit, I wasn’t looking forward to the film. I expected to dissolve into tears, and to leave feeling dejected and miserable.
But Kevin Hines and his film crew actually reaffirmed a tremendously uplifting message, illustrating the positive ripple effects of advocacy, inspiration and hope that are helping millions heal & stay alive.
The film highlights the story of Kevin Hines, who at age 19, attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Today Kevin is a world-renowned mental health advocate, motivational speaker and author who travels the globe spreading his message of hope, recovery and wellness.
I think the most important thing that I took from the film was the important of sharing our stories of survival and recovery in order to bring hope to others. (I’ve said this all before, but good luck shutting me up now.) I’ve struggled with severe depression and anxiety for about five years now. When I first began falling into that horrid hole of despair, I didn’t think I’d be able to find a way out. But, thanks mostly to the love and support of my friends and family, I’m still alive today. What’s more, I’m happy, confident, and prepared for the future.
Often when we talk about mental health, we focus on the really sad and despairing stories of those we’ve lost. And that’s ok. But it’s also important to remember hope, and to cling to a sense of optimism for the future. It really does get better. Tonight I’d like to congratulate all of you who have made it through so much shit to be here today. I am so proud of you.
And remember, if you ever find yourself struggling, please do reach out. Help can always be found.
Written by Jean Balchin – Student at University of Otago