Man who survived Golden Gate jump to speak at mental health event | News

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To increase awareness about the need to reach out to others who may be struggling, parents and children ages 14 and up are invited to a Mental Health and Wellness Community Event on Tuesday, April 5, at Gloucester High.

The event kicks off with a mental health resource fair at 5:30 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., attendees can listen to a presentation by Kevin Hines, a mental health and wellness champion, filmmaker and activist.

Hines will tell his story about his life-long struggle with mental illness and his survival of a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 25, 2000, at age 19.

Hines is the subject of a the 2018 documentary film “Suicide — The Ripple Effect,” which focuses on his battle with mental illness and the ripple effect suicide has on society, along with the positive way he and others have advocated for others to get help since then.

“We are so pleased the Gloucester Public Schools and the Gloucester Health Department are partnering to bring Kevin Hines to speak to our community and students,” said Superintendent Ben Lummis. “Mr. Hines’ inspiring message about mental health and reaching out for help is essential for all in our community to hear.”

In addition, Hines is scheduled to speak to Gloucester High students during two assemblies Wednesday at the school, said Amy Kamm, the district’s director of mental health and social-emotional learning.

The aim of Tuesday’s event is to keep the spotlight on mental health and wellness, Kamm said, to increase awareness and prevent a tragedy, so that people know how to reach out before a crisis occurs. The event also aims to lessen the stigma around mental health, and provide young people with multiple access points for treatment.

Gloucester High already has a number of students who serve as mental health ambassadors. They have been trained to be peer leaders to help de-stigmatize the challenges other students may face, while also spreading awareness about resources available at the school and in the wider community.

Earlier this year, the ambassadors led a Green Bandana campaign at the high school that involved students and others tying bandanas to backpacks or on door knobs as a signal to those struggling with mental health they are not alone. Those who get the green bandanas also receive a pledge card with resources one can turn to.

Tuesday’s event is sponsored by Gloucester Public Schools and the Gloucester Health Department in collaboration with the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association, Gloucester Public Schools Special Education Parent Advisory Council and the Mental Health Ambassadors.

Also scheduled to attend are representatives of the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Police Department’s Community Impact Unit, the National Alliance on Mental Health, North Shore Emergency Services, the North Shore Alliance for GLBTQ+ Youth, JRI/Children’s Friend and Family Services, Lahey Health Behavioral Services CSA, YOUnity, Samaritans, and the YMCA, among others.

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