Mental health presentation hits home for SB family who lost member to suicide

By  | 

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Kevin Hines travels the country spreading awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, and he made a stop in South Bend Tuesday.

His words of hope hit home for many at Century Center. For one South Bend family, his words are a reminder of a brother lost to suicide.

"I don't care if you're the toughest person in every room, never again silence your pain; your pain is valid, your pain is worthy of my time and others,'" Hines said to the crowd.

"Don't think you're alone out there, just always ask, reach out for that help," Angelica Weatherspoon said.

For Hines and the family of Felix Macedo, what helps to heal is sharing a message of hope following the tragedy of suicide.

"'Give your kids the love I needed,'" Angelica recalled her brother saying. "… And when we were in our conversation, all I heard was that gunshot go off."

Angelica, Tamela and Krystal Weatherspoon are the sisters of Felix, who shot and killed himself seven years ago, leaving behind a daughter who was born after his death. They saw changes in him leading up to that tragic day.

"In the beginning, it was like he was grieving, like he was trying to ask for forgiveness in the beginning, but then the next thing you know, it was like a light just switched, his voice totally changed, it was so different," Angelica said.

Hines had been there too. He was ready to die. But somehow, he survived and now helps others, traveling the world sharing his story.

He was the same age as Felix when he attempted to leave this world by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He broke several vertebrae and nearly drowned, but he survived

"It was the greatest mistake I ever made," he recalled. "I went over that rail, and the first thing that entered my mind is I wanted to reach back, but it was too late."

Felix's family is still healing from the loss.

"It took some time, and I mean, my mom, it's still hard on her because she just thinks he's on this vacation or something and she doesn't want to accept that he's still gone," Tamela said.

Hines and the family of Felix sent similar messages Tuesday night, messages they learned from the pain of suicide and suicidal thoughts: There's hope, and if you see someone in pain, reach out.

"If we show suicidal people around the world that we care, they will stay," Hines said. "If we show them that they have value, that they are worthy, that they are important, they will stay."

If you are having suicidal thoughts or having an emotional crisis, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.