Some may wonder how a bridge can save a life. One man had to travel to the end of a road that lead to emotional waters and be handed a lifeline on the Golden Gate Bridge to find out.

This is where two men, Sergeant Kevin Briggs and citizen Kevin Berthia, met one fateful day, and began a journey of hope at a crossroads of desperation. Through the tireless work of the Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition, Inc. (ORSCP, Inc.), this true story of compassion and perseverance will inspire our community to never give up on each other, including those contemplating suicide.

In 2005, at the age of 22, Kevin Berthia attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Thankfully, on that day, he met Briggs. This was no chance meeting.

Sgt. Kevin Briggs was a patrol officer that kindly provided a compassionate voice, along with a listening ear that thankfully prevented Berthia from taking his life at the Golden Gate Bridge nearly 11 years ago. Briggs is often called the “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge,” and rightfully so, as he has saved hundreds of lives, spending up to seven hours simply communicating with the suicide attempter to bring them safely back over the rail where their lives can be transformed from despair to a future filled with dreams and goals.

Kevin Berthia is grateful to have survived a suicide attempt, and now has turned what could have been a terrible tragedy into a triumph by becoming a suicide prevention advocate. Berthia struggled with a major depression disorder, the same as his biological mother. Berthia attempted to take his life that day by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, but thankfully, he met Sgt. Briggs, and his life changed for the better, forever.

Both Kevin Briggs and Kevin Berthia will bring to Owensboro this powerful message on the importance of compassion, actively listening and of life-changing hope.

This event has been made possible by the ORSCP, Inc. and co-sponsor Owensboro Health.

Owensboro Health and the Coalition are also working on a Zero Suicide initiative. Zero Suicide is “a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care systems, and also a specific set of tools and strategies. It is both a concept and a practice.” This model uses these key elements : LEAD, TRAIN, IDENTIFY, ENGAGE, TREAT, TRANSITION and IMPROVE, and will be offering training to health care systems in the area to help combat the ongoing crisis of death by suicide.

ORSCP, Inc. invites the community to be a part of the solution by exploring the work they’re doing in the community, or by attending this event to hear firsthand the encouraging story that bonded… “bridged”… two men for LIFE.

Sergeant Kevin Briggs (Ret.) and Kevin Berthia
April 27, 2017 at 6:30pm
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital Auditorium

Seating is limited; Please pre-register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/ORSPC2017
Free & Open to Public! Donations to continue work of ORSPC are welcome.

 

*This article first appeared in April/May ’17 issue of Owensboro Living Magazine.