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If you see someone struggling with mental illness, don’t turn away

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

By Sanjay Gupta (CNN)

“On the morning of September 25, 2000, when Kevin Hines looked out from the Golden Gate Bridge, it must have been a magnificent sight. The sun bouncing off the coastline of Marin County to the left and backlighting the coast of San Francisco to the right, with Alcatraz straight ahead. There were probably boats of different types and sizes in the glittering water and an occasional sea lion breaking the surface.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world’s most exquisite, an American landmark. Despite that — or perhaps because of it — it has also been one of the most infamous places in the world for people to die by suicide. It was on this stunning bridge on that perfect day that 19-year-old Kevin decided to jump.

I am told the 220-foot fall takes only a few seconds but probably feels a lot longer. By the time you hit the water, having accelerated to about 80 miles per hour, the surface of the water functions more like concrete, and does similar damage to the body. Spinal vertebrae and the thoracic rib cage snap like twigs and then rip through the organs in the abdomen and chest. Arteries and veins tear open, and every body cavity fills with blood. The pain is searing, and as you plunge into the frigid water, you are likely to drown, if you are even still alive.”

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