Surviving the Bridge: Hope, Healing, RecoveryOctober 6, 2016
New Vitae Wellness and Recovery was the primary sponsor for the first New Vitae Wellness Foundation event. The nonprofit organization New Vitae Wellness Foundation was honored to present behavioral health advocate Kevin Hines for two presentations on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Supported by co-sponsors NAMI Bucks County, NAMI Lehigh Valley, Marywood University, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, Hines spoke of his experiences with behavioral health challenges and his recovery following his jump from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Hines is one of only a handful of individuals to survive the fall from the iconic structure and regain full physical mobility. He spoke of the need to discuss behavioral health symptoms and to fight the stigma associated with treatment and recovery.
Kevin delivered his message of hope to Quakertown Community High School Seniors earlier in the day; some students also returned later that evening with family members to share Kevin’s powerful story. Almost 500 attendees listened to Kevin’s story during the evening discussion, with many staying afterward to speak with Hines personally.
“It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do,” Hines advised the crowd, identifying ways to help a friend or loved one who might be thinking about suicide. Hines suggested initiating dialogue and finding effective care as critical actions to assist those in need. Hines also urged audience members, many of whom had experienced a loved one’s death via suicide, to release any feelings of guilt. He spoke of the challenges associated with his own physical and emotional recovery, and of the coping and wellness skills he utilizes in order to manage behavioral health symptoms.
The evening’s event was the first educational offering from the New Vitae Wellness Foundation. The Foundation will continue to provide complimentary supports, including community behavioral health, substance use, and educational services, with a special focus on helping Veterans, young adults, and local residents. Overall, Hines’ story of hope, healing, and recovery was an incredible way to launch the Foundation’s goals. In order to continue to share Hines' story of hope, New Vitae Wellness and Recovery has donated copies of Hines' book, Cracked, Not Broken, to the high school and local libraries. Hines motivated the crowd to take action, engage in challenging conversations with loved ones, and fight the stigma and apathy that can be associated with behavioral health needs.
“I got stronger each day due to the possibilities and strength from being there. My only regret is that I didn’t find New Vitae sooner. Give yourself a chance.”- Belinda J. (former resident)