April 28, 2006 — -- When Kevin Hines saw the first suicide jumper tumble over the side of the Golden Gate Bridge on the television screen, he physically shook.
"Is that what I looked like?" he said that he thought. "Is that what happened to me?"
Hines, who suffers from bipolar disorder, survived a jump from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in 2000. Watching "The Bridge" -- a new documentary that captures 23 suicide jumps from the bridge in 2004 -- was difficult for him. Hines calls the controversial documentary a positive influence, and believes in the filmmakers' goal to expose the high number of suicides that take place at one locale and officials' failure to erect suicide barriers.
"It shows the truth about the fact that these are beautiful people with terrible issues that a lot of people want to just shove under the rug," the 25-year-old said. "And no longer after this movie can you shove this under the rug."
Six years ago, when Hines was in high school, he started hearing voices. His torment became so intense that he finally decided to kill himself. One day, as usual, he attended his first class, then took a bus to the bridge, crying all the way.
"I had heard that the Golden Gate Bridge was the easiest way to die. I heard that you hit the water and you're dead," Hines said. "And I remember picking the spot. This is the good spot. I'm not too close to the pillar. I won't hit the pillar. I'm not too close to the land. I won't hit the land. I'll hit the water and I'll die."
Hines stood on the bridge for 40 minutes. No one approached him to ask what was wrong. When a tourist came up and asked whether he could take her photo, Hines said that was the final straw -- clear proof that no one cared.
He took the picture, then jumped. Instantly, he realized he had made a mistake, and came up with a plan to save his life.
"It was simply this: God, save me, A. B, throw your head back. C, hit feet first," Hines said. "And I did all of that."