Tuesday, September 10, 2019

From Suicidal to Inspired: Interview with Kevin Hines, Greg Van Borssum, and Matt Runnalls

[Episode 125] In today's social work podcast, I speak with three men on a mission to prevent suicide. Matt Runnalls, Kevin Hines, and Greg Van Borssum shared their stories of managing suicidal thoughts, self-care, caring for others, and building a global network of support for suicide prevention.

I spoke with Matt, Kevin and Greg at the American Association of Suicidology annual conference in April 2018. Kevin's movie, Suicide: The Ripple Effect premiered the evening of our interview. These three guys were so pumped up about suicide prevention, so full of inspirational quotes and stories, that by the end of the interview I found myself speaking with the cadence and phrasing of a motivational speaker. Published on World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 as part of National Suicide Prevention Week 2019 and Suicide Prevention Month 2019.
#WSPD19 #NSPW19 #SPM19

Download MP3 [27:03]


In the year 2000, Kevin attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He is only one of 36 people to have survived. Many factors contributed to his miraculous survival including a sea lion which kept him afloat until the Coast Guard arrived. Kevin now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing, and recovery while teaching people of all ages the art of wellness & the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

In 2016, Mental Health America awarded Kevin their highest honor, The Clifford W. Beers Award for his efforts to improve the lives of and attitudes toward people with mental illnesses. Previously, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Council of Behavioral Health in partnership with Eli Lilly. Kevin has also been awarded by SAMSHA as a Voice Awards Fellow and Award Winner, an Achievement Winner by the US Veterans Affairs and received over 30 U.S. military excellence medals as a civilian.  Kevin sits on the boards of the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), the Bridge Rail Foundation (BRF) and the Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF) and on the Survivors Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.   Previously, he was a board member of the Northern California Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and was a two-term member of San Francisco’s Mental Health Board. He has spoken in congressional hearings alongside Patrick Kennedy in support of The Mental Health Parity Bill. He continues his policy work as an Ambassador to the National Council for Behavioral Health.  In the summer of 2013, Kevin released his bestselling memoir titled Cracked Not Broken, Surviving and Thriving After A Suicide Attempt. In 2018 he released his documentary Suicide: The Ripple Effect#CNQR #BrainHealthIsSexy

Matt Runnalls
Matt is the CEO & Founder of Mindfull Aus, a Non-Profit Charity from Melbourne, Victoria that focuses on education through the confronting truths of long-running personal battle with Mental Illness. Matt was diagnosed with clinical depression & anxiety at the age of 18, surviving several attempts on his own life and being affected by the loss of a large number of close mates to suicide. Matt now focuses on sharing his story of resilience, overcoming, leadership & hope to Sporting clubs, primary & secondary schools, businesses and organisations all across Australia in a bid to bring acceptance to those who are fighting similar battles and to the family’s affected by the loss of loved ones.

A failed school kid who turned adversities into opportunities, from Martial Arts to Movies. Over the years Greg has accomplished an incredible level of achievement...the worlds youngest professional Natural Bodybuilder, a multiple black belt martial artist, and award-winning Hollywood filmmaker. But the successes aren't what made him.  It was forging his pathway to those achievements that taught Greg the value of the true Warriors Code. Battling through failure and loss, it was his resilience as a warrior that gave him the strength to turn setbacks into comebacks that have made him the mentor and speaker he is today.


In today's social work podcast, I speak with three men on a mission to prevent suicide. Matt Runnalls, Kevin Hines, and Greg Van Borssum shared their stories of managing suicidal thoughts, self-care, caring for others, and building a global network of support for suicide prevention.

Kevin Hines is one of only 36 people to have survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Since his suicide attempt in 2000 he has become a global ambassador for suicide prevention. I first saw Kevin speak in 2014, the year after he published his autobiography, Cracked, Not Broken. In 2018 I had the pleasure of watching his film Suicide: the Ripple Effect at the American Association of Suicidology annual conference. Kevin was joined by two members of his CNQR collective, Matt Runnalls, CEO & Founder of Mindfull Aus, a Non-Profit Charity from Melbourne, Australia, and Greg Van Borssum, the worlds youngest professional Natural Bodybuilder, a multiple black belt martial artist, and award-winning Hollywood filmmaker.

I spoke with Matt, Kevin and Greg at the American Association of Suicidology annual conference in April 2018. These three guys were so pumped up about suicide prevention, so full of inspirational quotes and stories, that by the end of the interview I found myself speaking with the cadence and phrasing of a motivational speaker. Published on World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 as part of National Suicide Prevention Week 2019 and Suicide Prevention Month 2019.

I want to give a big shout out to Francesca Haley, MSW Student, Stonybrook University for generously donating a transcript of episode 106, A #ZeroSuicide World: Interview with David W. Covington. If you love the transcripts and want to donate your time in exchange for a shout out on the podcast, send me an email.

And now, without further ado, on to episode 125 of the Social Work Podcast: From Suicidal to Inspired: Interview with Kevin Hines, Greg Van Borssum, and Matt Runnells

Jonathan Singer: So Kevin, what did you learn about life and death after jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge?

Kevin Hines: Well, I learned that I made the greatest mistake of my life. You know, falling 220 feet, 25 stories, at 75 miles an hour in four seconds, in the air I said, “what if I just don't want to die? God, please save me.” I went to the water; I survived, of course. I learned that I never had to do that in the first place. I learned that I didn't have to learn the hard way like I did, and nobody else who hears my story needs to learn the hard way like I did. And so they can recognize in the greatest of painful moments that their thoughts of suicide do not have to lead to actions; just because your brain – your distorted reality, your delusion, your psychosis – is telling you, “you have to die,” it doesn't mean you have to listen. If you can recognize in times of crisis like I do now – I have these thoughts regularly – they will never kill me, Jonathan, because every time I'm in that kind of pain I'll turn to Greg, I’ll turn to Matt, and I'll say, "I need help right now." And they'll give me that help because I'm honest about my pain, and if can be honest about my pain, I expect the people in my life to do the same.

Jonathan Singer: So you've got these support guys, and the people on the Podcast can't see this because it's just audio. So how do you guys support each other?

Greg Van Borssum: We keep in touch a lot, and I mean it’s either by phone call, by Skype, by Google Messenger: any way, shape, and format. If someone drops off the radar for a period of time, we're onto them; we call. And you can tell, in that the way people type, the way they write, anything, you can see that things are changing and you're on the phone with them; and we're all prepared to fly to each other's doorstep as well. So the support is there 100%. And I think that goes for anybody we deal with, and I mean not just a part of Team Ripple, or part of our friend bond, it's anybody. So people, anyone I have helped at home has my number, and 24/7 I'll answer. We’ve got other people we put online, we put them in touch with professionals, and we're always there for them. We're there for them because we care; because we know what it feels like to go down that path. The darkness sets in, the light fades, and the punches are hitting – you're like, Titan is fighting you and you can't fight back anymore – and you know what that feels like, and you don't want to see someone go [down] that path. So, we'll always be there for them, so we offer each other heaps of support. And it's because we actually love and care about each other probably, yeah.

Jonathan Singer: So you guys have managed to do this but – and I say guys intentionally because this is one, I think, of the biggest issues we have, that guys don't support each other, right? There's not this culture of, "hey, can I talk to you?", "Can I call you up?" – but you guys have managed to do this. How did you break past those stereotypes – the barriers about what it means to be a man, about what it means to be a guy in society – to do this for each other?

Matt Runnalls: I think for me it got to the point of being so sick and tired of being sick and tired.  And the point that I was at the very bottom of life, when I went through all my suicidal idealization and attempts, that there was only one way up for me. Or one way to get [beyond] that was up for me. That was reaching out to people like this and getting past that moment, because the way I was living was no way of life at all. So I know that I deserved more and I had a value and self-worth of my life and how I wanted to get by, and it wasn't that; and so there was only one way to do it, and that was to speak up and reach out. And in doing that, I’ve lost a lot of mates and I have had a lot of people turn their back, but really they're not the people that I need in my life. So it’s given me a level of acceptance that has enabled me to find another level to my self-value and worth. It’s been a blessing to meet people like Kev – we'll just talk, [like] Greg said. With how Kevin's helped people like us, it’s not just every day. I originally met Kevin through seeing his stuff online, so without him even having to reach out; and [it’s the] same stuff now, with meeting Greg – I see people put up post and social media stuff and I follow that. And that’s how I keep well every day. Stories of hope – we know they help people heal. Story-telling is a real power.

Jonathan Singer: When you have this story, The Ripple Effect, right? What is the message that you're trying to send with this movie?

Kevin Hines: It’s very simple. People make comments about how the title is so ominous. That was on purpose. Suicide: The Ripple Effect isn’t just about the deaths that we’ve lost, it’s about the ripple effect of hope that we are transforming people’s lives with, all around the world. We have a group of a core CNQR Collective that is almost 40 people strong, from a great many different continents and they’re all telling their story. They’re sharing their moments, they’re sharing their truth, and they’re doing it in a way that is science based and evidence informed. They’re doing it in a way where you look at the Werther effect; talking about the dangers of the method – and talking about method, which we do; but we always talk about the recovery and how we found it, how we live in it, and more importantly how we stay in it every day. All of us have workout regimens, life regimens, and routines that keep us stable, on this CNQR collective. If you don't, you're off the team. You have to understand, if you're not working tirelessly for your brain health every day, then you don't get to be a part – you don’t get to jump in and play. So we’re all a part of the same team; we’re friends, but we’re family first. This group right here: we’re brothers, the ones you see right in front of you. The rest of the 40 are brothers and sisters, and we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We are here for each other no matter what, no matter the pain – despite the pain, and in spite of the pain – and we’re all going to thrive. We’re going to do well because of how hard we work. Because nothing good ever came without it – my dad taught me that since I was born, I think. And secondly, we are who we are and what we are because we care so much about each other and each other’s well-being.

Jonathan Singer: So, brain health. We talk about physical health. I can see the three of you [are] clearly in good physical shape. But what do you mean about brain health? What is brain health? How do you get there, and what is it that the people who are listening to this should know about that?

Greg Van Borssum: It’s health. I don’t think there’s a disparity between physical and brain health. They work together. And if you’re physically out of shape and you’re eating the wrong foods, it all has a really bad effect on your headspace. If you have low self-worth, same thing, and so that affects the mental side of things and then the rest of you suffers. We call it the laziness of depression. You’ve got no energy to do anything anymore because you’re feeling so down, and it doesn’t matter, and it’s not worthwhile, and suddenly you’re in a real rut. So it's very important that you eat the right foods, you get the right amount of rest – like sleep is very important. I know I don’t sleep enough, still, because I have so much work to do. I think that’s all of us; I think Kevin’s living on fumes right now. And I know Matty probably doesn’t asleep enough, because he’s emailing all the time to get the charity moving back home. We’ve all got such important work to do that sometimes we under-sleep, you know, but we know what the cause is for.

So, we know if we’re getting off the scale a bit and things aren’t going well, I’ll go back off and sleep a bit, let’s get some rest; or you’ll turn offline for a bit and say, “I need a few days off.” For the physical regimen: I keep very physically fit. I do martial arts probably for about 30 hours a week; I've got a weight trainer; I do a lot of exercise. And I make sure that I’m doing a lot of teaching, because I love to teach and pass on, and to try and make strong, resilient children before I have to fix them when they’re broken adults. I think that’s one of the best things that happens; I mean, that’s rewarding in itself because you know you’re getting to them young and you can help them move forward. But all their physical and mental health, it all works hand in hand. That, with your diet and good amount of rest, [means] you’re good to go.

Kevin Hines: You know, piggy-backing off of what Greg said right there about helping the children with their well-being, I really do believe this country made a fatal mistake in not teaching our children how to maintain their brain health and well-being. And I think that one of the things I know to be working right now for children in fifth to eighth grade is this series called Iris the Dragon. Iris the Dragon books are a cartoon series that teach young kids about what mental health is, in layman's terms they can understand, through cartoons. It’s fascinating – it’s empirically studied out [in] Canada. it’s helping people all over the world; they’re online digitally (https://www.iristhedragon.com/bookstore.html). And I give this plug not because I’m trying to give a plug, but because really, it works. It gets these young kids to say, "oh, that’s what brain pain is. How do I get away from it when it happens? How do I get to safety when I am in pain?” And what happens is, these kids are growing up and they are actually asking for help right off the bat, as opposed to the culture of kids that we've built in this country who keep it all inside, bottled up. Then it festers, and it grows, and it bursts into things like rage, aggression, violence, substance use disorder, domestic abuse; suicidal thoughts, ideas, or actions. But our thoughts don't have to become our actions.

Matt Runnalls: I think a big one – the same as what these two boys have said – it's doing things [with] a holistic approach, and gathering up more and more tools and techniques and strategies every single day on this journey to combat my wellness. It's not leaving it at exercise. It’s not –  you know, talk therapy, and there's medications and that there, but they've got to be part of an overall plan. I know I'm only 26 but I've been on this journey with diagnosis going back eight years and I still will wake up tomorrow and find more outlets and escapes to control what I'm experiencing. That's how: it’s adding more strings to that bow to become a better fighter – and that’s a better fighter of my mental illness and my brain pain. So, I do things every day; I practice gratitude, compassion, mindfulness, meditation; Kevin talked about nutrition, and exercise, and the importance of that. Everything is on a holistic approach, with self-discipline, day in and day out, because I know that’s going to give me a better opportunity tomorrow to live well.

Greg Van Borssum: It’s also like a toolbox, as you’re saying; it's the same, but at the end of that it’s also knowing those steps that work for you, because the steps work for Matty or work for Kevin might not work for me and vice versa. I have to work out what works for me and that becomes my failsafe. When I know I’m sliding down into depression and things aren't working and the wheels are spinning, I don't let it get down. I start on that process before it gets down, so I can keep myself moving forward; and that's a big thing, to not let it get down to the bottom of the barrel.

Kevin Hines: Exactly. My wife does it best. When I’m having a paranoid, delusional, depressed, manic depressed episode – any one of those things – this is what she does: she goes, “drop and give me 50. 50 pushups, right now.” And […] it's all automatic now: when she says it, I just do it. And I'll tell you, Jonathan, it usually brings me to a place where I’m like, “okay, I can get through the next hour at least.” I can get through the next hour, and then maybe I’ll go hit the gym, or I'll go for a run, or I'll sit down and meditate and take some time for mindfulness, or I'll just watch my favorite TV show and realize that I can slow down and I don't need the uberfication of life to run my life. I need to slow down, take a breath, put work aside, put working out aside, and just veg out on some good old Revenge of the Dragon or whatever it’s called.

Jonathan Singer: So brain health/physical health: you’ve made a really nice connection between the two things. I think it’s absolutely right – we can’t separate it in any practical way. I really like what you said about [how] you have a plan for taking care of yourself, and you’ve recognized when things are starting to not go well; or you have a partner, like Margaret, who is able to say, “hey, drop and give me 50.” That’s a physical cue for you. What are some things that you have seen that people have misconceptions about? That they misunderstand about suicide, about depression, about these sorts of things? [Due to that misunderstanding,] they address them wrong, they respond to them wrong, they don’t understand. What are some insights that you can provide from your own lived experience about this?

Kevin Hines: So I think one of the biggest things we human beings make the mistake of when we’re looking at someone in that kind of pain is we judge them. We say to them things like, “oh, snap out of it”, “get over it”, “move on”, “it's all in your head”. Well, yeah; it starts in my brain –  that's where the brain pain comes from. It is all in my head; it goes to the rest of the body; it's all connected. What we forget to do is recognize that everybody's pain thresholds are different, and if one person's pain tolerance level of brain pain is one thing, it's not the same for the next [person] if that person is uber sensitive, like I was growing up as a kid – so sensitive; [if] anyone ever said anything negative about me, it stuck with me for the rest of my life.

We need to talk to our young folks about how important it is to recognize the value of their human existence; and we – in a sense, with this age of technology – we’ve lost connection in a big way. We have this new connection: it's on our palms, in our hands, it’s this device that we are so uber focused on and so destroyed with, because we’re not focusing on the things that are right in front of us: human-to-human connection and bond. So if we can teach our children in this digital age that they need to take time for family, friends, and actual real-life human relationships and put the phone down, and put the tablet down, and take a breath with your friends and family, who love you dearly and recognize in that love that you are valued. You are worthy and you deserve to be here.

Greg Van Borssum: Also, nature: I think we’ve forgotten and lost touch with the outdoors. I mean, I agree 100%. I can’t stand the mobile phone technology and what it’s done to separate us and make us so isolated; even though we’ve got all these forms of communication, we’ve never been so isolated as people. There’s a few speakers around I’ve heard – I shouldn’t mention their names, but I really want to slap them on the head because they’ve said things like, “if you never look up from your phone again, that’s fantastic: just keep living through social media”, and it’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard someone say. Because if you don’t have eye-to-eye, face-to-face contact with someone, you don’t see the idiosyncrasies that make you understand that someone is going through something. Just the simplest thing of getting back into nature and going for a walk, because we’re living in this world that’s been created for us, but we’re forgetting about the one that has always been here.

So we live in these boxes all the time: we don’t get outside, and breathe that real air, and go touch a tree, and go for a wander up the beach – I mean, they’re the smallest things that can just really bring you back down again and let you relax. We’ve forgotten that; we’ve negated it, because we’re living in electronics, and I think what Kev said is exactly right: we have to start stepping back a bit and taking face-to-face communication; talking people-to-people. I mean, one of the things I say to people is on Fridays – it's called the Friday Promise – you call three people: you go through your phone on the way home from work, go through your phone, look for three people you haven't spoken to in quite a long time and call them up, because it might be the call that saves a life. And that’s so simple, but everyone can do it. Look through your phone and actually speak to someone. I remember back in the 90’s when the answering machines were in, people would love to leave a message, but they were disappointed when you would answer the phone: "ah, I was gonna leave you a message!" That started from there, and now we've become so used to just texting now – it’s like, pick up the phone and talk to them. You get so much done in such a short period of time, plus you get to say, “how you doing?”

You know, and a guy thing, I think, that's very important for all us men out there: I'm a big strong bloke, and so are all these guys here… I was a really strong big bloke when I went through my really bad stages of depression. I was about three millimeters away from taking my life. My wife went to my friends and said, “Greg’s in a really bad place,” and all three of them said, “he's a tough guy, he'll be sweet.” And they forget that depression and all those issues are brain issues and they come from the neck up, not from the neck down. You can be the biggest, strongest guy on earth physically, but if your head is letting you down and you're in a really bad space. We need to remember that.

Jonathan Singer: I think it's a beautiful thing. The question I asked: misconceptions; Kevin, you said that people judge. I also heard that you were really talking about acknowledging that everybody has different thresholds and they’re in different places. Greg, you made the beautiful point that connecting with nature, the thing that is in our DNA about the world, is really important; as is this beautiful idea of saying, every Friday I’m going to connect with three people. I think that's incredible.

Greg Van Borssum: And simple.

Kevin Hines: Right now, Jonathan, I'm currently working on a web application that has had many forms and many iterations in the past, but now it's coming together. It's going to be – I’m not going to say much about it – but it's going to be an app that allows human connection to be the paramount. We’re going to use social media and social media tools to get people in one place, together. To get them to put away their phones, and get them to sit down and engage in story; and crisis counselors will be the moderators of these programs. The app will get you visibly noticed online, then you will physically get yourself to the location. Once you get yourself to the location, the phones go in a basket, and we get to work on what is the root of our problem. And we get to do it together because the only way to grieve suicide, the only way to fight mental illness, the only way to fight brain pain, is together: in unison. One for all, and all for one.

Jonathan Singer: That's a beautiful way of saying there is a value in the phone as a way of reaching out to people that you might not be physically next to, but that it shouldn't be the end. The end should be being with someone, in person.

Matt Runnalls: It’s about utilizing that – you know, we’ve got to roll with the punches, and technologies are part of the world moving forward, so we’ve got to use it for what it's beneficial to us. So, when I talk at schools and stuff, I talk about of the morning, how many of us get up and answer our phone or look at our phone for the first moment in the morning. That’s putting our happiness in external sources. We're looking for likes, follows, shares, messages, instead of getting up and being proactive; instead of reactive. But using our phones in the afternoon: it might be for self-reflection, or to write down goals, to journal entry, and [to] get therapeutic: you can use that for really good reasons. I think [if] you win the morning, you win in the day. That's why I encourage everyone to get up of a morning and not be reactive to what is happening in the outside world. Focus in on you, right there, and [on] getting out of bed in the morning with energy, drive, and bounce to give yourself the best shot at the day. You have to roll with the punches with technology, I think; it's going to be here to stay so we just have to use it to benefit ourselves in the best possible way.

Gregg Van Borssum: One for all the muppets out there – all you 25-year-olds, 20-year-olds – who want to be super successful, ultra-rich: get over that crap, because in all honesty… you know, everyone wants to put a time frame on it: “in three years’ time, I'm gonna be ultra-successful; in four years’ time I gotta be…” You know what? Stuff happens when it happens. I’ve won, and done, tons of stuff. It's taken years: like 15 years, 10 years. When you're trying to work towards being better at something, the best way to avoid getting depression is to just keep on the path and keep working towards it, and don't worry about the endgame: just be in the game. It will happen when it happens. The minute you start putting timeframes on it, and the wheel starts spinning, you’ll start get very depressed and very down and you’ll probably give up – especially the way we are these days, with instant gratification being the big thing. We have to understand mastery. My martial arts life has being 43 years, and I still don't feel any closer than when I walked through the dojo door when I was a tiny kid. It's a never-ending journey to better yourself.

And success isn't a money thing. I saw a great comic a little while back in Sydney, where it showed the modern human, man, and woman, and it had a guy running full speed with a stick on his head, like [with] a carrot on the end; but it was a whole wad of money, and at the end of it was a grave. It’s is exactly what we're doing: we’re missing our lives chasing the dollar, and ending up in the grave and we wonder what happened. We’re missing this wonderful life out there because we think success is the dollar. It's not. If you’re off in the wilderness having a great time with the monkeys, that's wonderful – that’s success, if that’s what you want to do. So whatever you have going for you: work towards it, and don't put a time limit on it, okay? Just work towards it; you'll be a much happier person.

Kevin Hines: Patience is the key, patience is the key. Take your time; do it right the first time.

Jonathan Singer: Amazing and inspirational to talk to the three of you. What are your last thoughts for the folks who are listening?

Greg Van Borssum: One main thing, especially for any clinician or any social worker going out into the front, is understanding moreso just that the parents sometimes need a bit more work than the kid does. I do with a lot of children, especially with my martial arts school. I've got a lot of kids that have got different forms of things that are on the spectrum, different forms of mental health issues. The parents, a lot of the time, will threaten them with going to a mental health facility as a punishment. And it's a really big thing that we need to nip in the bud before it gets out of hand, because it should be seen as a safe place, and a place where, if a child is struggling, they can go on and be feeling safe and they can get the help they need. Not as a threat. It's very deadly; it’s absolutely catastrophic to the child’s well-being. I get kid after kid to my place who just says, “Mom’s threatened me with this,” and “Mom’s threatened me with going back there,” and I don't think that should be the case. I think they should know that that’s a safe place, so if they're having a hard time they can go there almost voluntarily, so it doesn't lead to a hostile situation which involves law enforcement.

Also, we’ve got a training at home which is the Mental Health Intervention Team of the police force, and these guys and girls are really well trained in how to deal with mental health cases, so they don't go in guns blazing. They go in very, very quietly and they talk and they listen. I think if we do more of that, the kids will be in a much better place.

Jonathan Singer: In the States, we have some cities [that] have mental health units, so they have police officers that are specially trained to address mental health crises; but some don't, and it's a huge issue, because if you're taught to say that everything’s a nail, you’re going to be a hammer, right?

Kevin Hines: So right now, my last point [is] going to be the resources we provide. If you are in crisis right now, and you don't like making a phone call or waiting on phone lines, you can text CNQR to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. That is our key word, C,N,Q,R: conquer your pain. C-N-Q-R stands for [C,] Courage to talk about your mental health; N stands for Normalize the conversation; Q stands for ask the Questions: “are you suicidal, and have you made plans to take your life?”; and R is for Recovery, because we know it's possible. As I said earlier today, all of us sitting in this room are living proof. So text CNQR to 741741. If you don't want to do that, then [call] 1-(800)
-273-8255, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (press [option] 1 for military veterans)

And finally, go check out my YouTube, please: YouTube.com/kevinhines. Here's why. There are over 150 videos all about mental health, brain health, mind health; all mental health, all the time. They are free, they are yours, they are usable for trainings. They are usable in any situation that can help someone who is mentally unstable find a glimmer of light at the end of their tunnel so they can stay here and be here tomorrow. They are for you: take them, use them, share them in classes with your school, share them with your teachers, share them with your loved ones. They are helping people all over the world through the power of lived experience and lived expertise. These guys are in some of the videos, [these guys] right next to me, because their stories are so moving and powerful and they're changing people's lives with their words.

Matt Runnalls: And just following up from that: it’s kindness, compassion, and empathy; it is my rediscovery of hope, visible in other people's kindness. [It was] eeting Kev, meeting Greg, and seeing their stuff all over social media and the work that they do that enabled me to find my strength within. [It’s] only when you’ve been at the bottom, like I know I have, that you realize how strong you can actually be. For all those people out there that are struggling, just stick tight: see the end goal. Envision living a healthy, happy life; because at one point I know that I didn’t ever envisioned sitting here in this room with these boys, but [now] I live a happy, healthy, fulfilling life, and I know everyone out there too can. Showing your signs of your weakness, or what people out there say is a weakness, is a real sign of strength: so get vulnerable, talk about your feelings and emotions, because that’s the real strength.

Jonathan Singer: Well, I hope that everybody that hears this really gets that last point, which is that being vulnerable is strength. That's how people connect with us, when they get to see the real us. I appreciate each one of you sharing the real you, your insights, and a bit of your journey. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Kevin Hines, Matt Runnalls, Greg Van Borssum: Thanks, Jonathan. Thank you very much.


Transcription generously donated by Courtney Van Pelt, senior BSW student at Mississippi State University, and Rebecca Robertshaw, Mental Health Social Worker and Masters degree student at University of York/Think Ahead, England, UK.

References and Resources

APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2019, September 10). #125 - From Suicidal to Inspired: Interview with Kevin Hines, Greg Van Borssum, and Matt Runnalls [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2019/09/hines.html

1 comment:

A dream said...

I really enjoyed listening to this episode. It was neat to hear men talking about their mental health and personal stories on how they dealt with their issues. I liked how you guys talked about how important it is to have a support system and its okay to reach out and check in with your friends. Even the smallest thing such being in nature and going walks and just focus on yourself and how important self care is because I feel like sometimes people forget about that.