Category Archives: Mental health

Speaker Kevin Hines shares his story of suicide and second chances

Sarah Thurman, Staff Writer

On Thursday, February 22, Kevin Hines came to Wingate to give a lecture titled Cracked Not Broken, The Kevin Hines Story. Kevin Hines was only 19 when he decided that he wanted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate bridge.  This is a jump that 99% of people, do not live from. Kevin was in that 1% that lived.

The lecture began by showing a snippet of Kevin’s film titled ‘Suicide: The Ripple Effect.’ Kevin came on stage and introduced himself, then proceeded to explain how he was not there to just tell his story, he was here to inform us by using his story.

Telling a story of a suicide attempt can get very dark, yet when Kevin felt that the mood was shifting he would give a joke that would make the whole audience laugh. Once he saw that the audience was in fact laughing he would go back into the story.

During one of the darkest parts of the story, when Kevin is describing himself jumping off the bridge and into the water, he realized that he didn’t die and that there was a creature swimming around him. He said, “I remember thinking ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, I didn’t die off the Golden Gate bridge and now a shark is going to devour me. NO!” The audience mood instantly lightened at the joke.

He went back into describing how this creature was keeping his body afloat and taking him towards a boat. With no idea what was under him, he decided to name the creature “Herbert” and after he began to tell his story publicly, he was contacted and informed that the creature that was under him was a Sea Lion.

Suprisingly the story does not end there, he continues to recount the story of his recovery and how he has gotten to the point he’s at today. He tells of his time spent in psych wards, fixing his relationship with his father, and meeting his wife. He does not just outline the negative parts, but he dives into the positive ones as well.

He ended the lecture by telling the audience that even though he stands here to tell his story that he still struggles everyday with a mental illness, but “I’ve been given the gift of a second chance, and most people in that situation sadly never got to see.”  

Kevin then tied the lecture together with a simple statement and a joke, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that I believe is why we call it the present and if ya’ll don’t believe me Master Oogway from Kung Foo Panda said that.”

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Left to Right- Nya Henderson, Kevin Hines, Aliyah Long. Photo credit: Sarah Thurman

After he finished, he asked the audience to stand and he pulled out his phone and asked us to scream “Be Here Tomorrow” as loud as possible.  After the event Kevin went into the lobby of the Batte Center and met with students. Many people approached him to inform him of the impact of his story and some even pulled him aside to talk privately. Counseling was also on duty if anyone felt the need to talk to someone during or after the event.

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, Wingate University offers free confidential counseling to students, you can contact them at counseling@wingate.edu. To learn more about Kevin’s story visit http://www.kevinhinesstory.com/.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Mental health problems facing college students all around

Aleah Cady, Staff Writer

College can be an exciting, enriching experience. For most young adults, college is their first step into the world of “adulthood”- that may mean living away from home, having a job, paying bills for the first time, and taking on the responsibilities of college-level courses.

College is a different experience for each student, but unfortunately for some, the fun parts of school such as making new friends, or having more freedom, are overshadowed by situations which can be stressful, and make school feel like a burden.

It can be pretty shocking to transition from four years of high school and living at home, and suddenly adapt to a faster-paced, unfamiliar environment which may mean living in a new city, state or even country; moving away from your friends and family, taking six or seven classes at a time, being responsible for student loans or bills, struggling to decide on a major, etc.

These experiences can be especially hard for students with mental illness, or those who struggle with stress. For these students, college can be less of a fun experience, and more of a contributor to their stress and worries. Sadly, the stress of college can often lead to heightened anxiety and depression, sleeping problems, poor school performance, or more serious issues including drug or alcohol abuse.

Some students even drop out of school entirely. According to a 2011 study from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 62% of students who withdrew from college before graduation did so because of poor mental health.

With the increasing prevalence of anxiety among young adults, mental health is being discussed more than ever before on campuses across the nation. Schools are making changes to accommodate students with mental illness, and help them succeed despite their differences.

Luckily at Wingate University, there are a variety of resources available to help students cope with their problems and be successful. One resource is the counseling services. Students can email the counseling department to set up an appointment to meet with a counselor that fits their schedule.

Students are welcome to discuss a variety of concerns from school, to grades, to social life, and beyond. You are meeting with a trained professional who can listen to your concerns, and help you understand your options.

Other helpful resources include the ARC, or Academic Resource Center. ARC offers tutoring services to all Wingate students, free of charge. You can receive help with studying or doing your homework, which can help improve your grades and give you more confidence in school.

If you are a student with a disability, you can turn to Disability Support Services for accommodations in concern to housing, testing, or other specific services that can help you. There are options to make school more comfortable for you, despite what challenges you may be facing.

If you’re a student struggling with mental illness or stress, you are not alone.In addition to reaching out and talking to a professional, you can also make small lifestyle changes to better your mental state.

  • Try to get enough sleep. It’s really hard when you have classes all day, and work and assignments to do at night, but try and get a twenty or thirty minute nap into your day, or take advantage of the weekends and get some rest.
  • Eat healthy foods, drink water, and exercise. Again, this may require changing your schedule up a bit, but take a few extra minutes a day to think about foods and drinks you’re putting into your body. Also, many studies show that light exercise such as going for a walk, or biking, can reduce stress levels, and improve your grades.
  • Avoid taking on too many responsibilities at once. You are at school to learn. Between academics, clubs, sports, work, homework, studying, and a social life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Evaluate what is really important to you, and try and cut out tasks or activities that stress you out. It’s okay to be human, and have weaknesses. Everybody needs a break sometimes.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol in excess. They may feel like a temporary way to relax, but overusing drugs and alcohol use can increase stress levels, and result in more problems to face.
  • Know when to ask for help. It can be hard in such a fast-paced society to stop and say “I need help.” However, if you are struggling with self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or any other problems which may threaten your safety, it is important to get help immediately. Listed below are the phone numbers to contact Campus Safety, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. However, always call 911 in an emergency situation.
  • Remember that it’s okay to be stressed and worried. You aren’t alone, and it’s okay to cut yourself some slack every now and then. Take time to do things that make you happy, and try to cut out negative situations or people who may bring you down.

If you need help with a situation in which counseling services or any of the other resources mentioned above may not be able to help, here are a list of other resources you may turn to, especially if your safety is at risk:

➔ In an emergency situation, always call 911.

➔ Wingate Police (Non-emergency) (704)–233–5657

➔ Campus Safety (704)–233–8999

➔ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800)-273-8255

Edited by: Brea Childs

 Photo from: Google Images