On March 11, 2005, a depressed and overwhelmed Kevin Berthia was ready to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge when he heard someone say “Hey, wait a minute.”
The words came from California Highway Patrol (CHP) Sergeant Kevin Briggs, who spent 96 minutes talking to Berthia until he convinced him to come back over the railing.
A photograph of Briggs listening intently to Berthia—who is standing precariously on a four-inch cord 220 feet in the air—made the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle and would later be named as one of the 75 most iconic photos of the 21st Century.
In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, Kevin Berthia and Kevin Briggs will recount the profound experience that took place at the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.
“We are honored to hear Kevin Berthia and Kevin Briggs speak about that fateful day on the Golden Gate Bridge and how to help others who are grappling with depression and other mental health issues,” said Larry Schallert, assistant director of the Student Health and Wellness/Mental Health program at the college. “We hope this event will help raise awareness about suicide prevention not just on campus, but throughout our community.”
In May 2013, eight years after his attempt at the Golden Gate Bridge, Berthia was invited by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to present The Life Savers Award to Briggs. It was the first time he spoke publicly about his suicide attempt.
Now a father of three, Berthia is a suicide prevention advocate whose story has been featured on the Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC Fusion, The Steve Harvey Show, Men’s Health Magazine and People Magazine.
Briggs, who retired from the CHP in 2013, devotes his time to promoting suicide intervention, crisis management, and leadership skills. He often speaks at events across the country, including conferences and law enforcement departments, such as the FBI.
His experiences have been featured in The New Yorker Magazine, Men’s Health Magazine, People Magazine, and NPR.
Kevin Berthia and Kevin Briggs will speak at the PAC from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
Mental health service professionals will also be on hand to answer questions and provide information.
Admission is free and open to the public.
Briggs’ book “Guardian of the Golden Gate” (Ascend Books, 2015) will be available for purchase in the PAC lobby.
This event is made possible with grant funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the support of the Santa Clarita Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force/SAMHSA Committee on Suicide Prevention, Postvention and Wellness.
For more information about the college’s Student Health and Wellness Center, visit the link below or call (661) 362-3259.