Travis Pipes: A Story of Survival
Travis Pipes, a suicide survivor, suicide activist, and an interviewee in the movie “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” said that his life was changed five years ago by a simple photo call to Kevin Hines, who had survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 24, 2000.
“I was introduced to Kevin Hines through a family member, and I was struggling with my own suicidal ideation,” Pipes said. “I had a plan in place to kill myself, and at the time I felt really alone.”
While Pipes is doing well now, he too, had his own issues with mental illness and thoughts of suicide.
“In the fall of 2012, I had devolved into homelessness,” Pipes said. “I had been living out of a backpack. I had burned through my entire life savings in about six months.”
Pipes continued to struggle with his disorder, and he eventually lost his relationships with his family and friends due to pushing them away. Pipes said that he was not connected to anything, which contributed to his suicidal thoughts.
A few months later, Pipes decided to move out of his apartment with no plan in mind.
“In October of 2012, I thought, ‘I’m going to give up my apartment in Oakland and move to San Francisco into this flophouse hotel.’ I thought this was the best idea I ever had,” Pipes said.
Like Hines, Pipes started to have hallucinations and wanted a way out.
“I thought the easy way out was to take my own life,” Pipes said. “It wasn’t just a passing thought. It was this thought in the back of my head,” Pipes said. “I spent three or four months on how to make it happen … what was going to be the easiest for my family and the person who found me.”
After he struggled with those questions, Pipes found a hotel to stay in temporarily. It was not much better at all.
“I was staying at this hotel called Phoenix in San Francisco,” Pipes said. “A domestic dispute spilled into the hallway at 4 in the morning. The guy tried to kick my door in … I didn’t know if he was going to try to harm me or kill me. It scared me into this moment of clarity that I had where I realized if I didn’t do something now, I was going to end up dead and nobody would even know.”
The friendship between Pipes and Hines started with one simple call, and eventually led to them working together on “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” a full-length documentary and film that focuses on the devastating effects of suicide and and how suicide awareness can create positive change. The movie has already changed lives.
When Pipes called Hines at 4 in the morning, it was his last ray of hope.
“If Kevin didn’t answer the phone, [I was going to kill myself],” Pipes said. “Kevin answered the phone, we stayed on the phone for a couple of hours, and we made a plan.”
Hines’ immediate response to Travis’ call made an immediate impact.
“If Kevin Hines didn’t answer the phone call on February 13, 2013, I wouldn’t be here today,” Pipes said.
Pipes’ awareness that someone wanted him to be alive and work though his manic thoughts was all he needed to want to continue to live. Hines and continues to be an inspiration to Pipes.
“Hearing Kevin on the phone that day inspired me to say, ‘I don’t want to live this way anymore, and I’m finally going to do something about it,’” Pipes said.
If anyone is considering suicide or knows someone who is considering suicide, a simple call to the suicide hotline could save a life. Please call 1-800-273-8255 for 24 hours a day, seven days a week assistance.