Photo Credit: John Burgess/The Press Democrat
SAN FRANCISCO (MAY 19, 2016) – Kevin Berthia experienced a suicidal crisis after health factors and stressful life events converged including the premature birth of his daughter and medical bills that had piled up. In March 2005, overwhelmed by these factors, he went to the Golden Gate Bridge, a place he had never been before, and prepared to end his life.
California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Briggs was working on the bridge that day 11 years ago. The two men spoke for 92 minutes, with Berthia standing on a thin ledge outside the safety barrier, until he was ready to get some medical help. Briggs brought him to the hospital, and for eight years they went their separate ways.
In 2013, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) brought both men together in New York City, where in an emotional reunion; Berthia presented Patrol Officer Briggs with an public service award at the organization’s annual Lifesavers Gala for his role in saving his life.
This Saturday, May 21, both men will reunite once again at AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk in San Francisco at the Great Meadow Park at Fort Mason. In front of thousands of people who will walk all night to fight suicide, Berthia will tell his incredible story of survival and recovery and introduce Briggs, who will narrate the AFSP honor bead ceremony. During the honor bead ceremony, nine people who have been affected by suicide will bravely stand on stage and share their own stories, including those who have lost loved ones, and others who have personally struggled themselves.
“We are honored to have both men together again,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Kevin Briggs is truly a lifesaver, and Kevin Berthia is a powerful reminder that a person can come back from a suicidal crisis and live a full life. The Overnight Walk brings together people much like them from all over the country for a powerful and compassionate night of hope and healing.”
Money raised from the Overnight Walk supports AFSP’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP funds research, creates educational programs, advocates for public policy, and offers support for those affected by suicide.
There is also an Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk planned for New York on June 4-5, 2016. Registration for both walk events is still open to the public.
Press wishing to attend the event should call Alexis O’Brien, PR Director at 202-441-8764.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.