Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Expert,
Known as the Guardian of the Golden Gate
As an international Crisis Management, Suicide Prevention, and Leadership Skills presenter, Sergeant Kevin Briggs’ story and lived experiences have been featured at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design 2014 Conference as a TED Talk, Ciudad de Las Ideas (Mexico), NBC’s Access Live, Yahoo News, The New Yorker Magazine, Men’s Health Magazine, NPR’s Bob Edwards Radio Show,People Magazine, USA Today, as well as other magazines, newspapers, radio, and podcasts across the world. His first book, Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair, was released in July 2015.
Golden Gate Bridge
Briggs, a retired California HighwayPatrol sergeant, spent many years patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge. While on patrol, he encountered numerous individuals clinging to life by a thread – individuals who had lost hope and could see no way out of their current situation – ready to jump off the bridge to what they assumed was a sudden death and ending of their pain and hopelessness.
Mental Health Awareness
Briggs, through his compassion, gentle voice, eye contact, and his innate ability of “listening to understand” encouraged more than 200 individuals over his career to either not go over the bridge’s rail or come back to solid ground from where they had been standing precariously out on the chord of the bridge and start a new chapter in their life. These challenging, but rewarding efforts earned him the nickname “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge.” After a 23-year career with the California Highway Patrol, Briggs retired to dedicate his life to promote mental health awareness across the globe through Pivotal Points, an organization he founded.
Today, Briggs ismapping amovement as he speaks and trains others in suicide prevention, crisismanagement and negotiations. He shares his “Listening to Understand” skills followed up with key active listening points; his personal triad for healthy living; his RELEASE model to assist in communicating with someone in crisis and his crisis safety plan for those who may be struggling. He also discusses in depth his own personal mental health struggles. Briggs spends the majority of his time speaking/teaching at conferences, advocacy events, colleges and universities, first responder conferences, law enforcement (including FBI & Secret Service), and military bases. He also works with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), corporations, and othervenues.
Listen to Understand
Kevin Briggs’ presentation is based on his experiences while patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge as both an officer and a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol and includes his own personal story of physical and mental health challenges including recovery, military service, surviving the suicide of a loved one, divorce, and depression.
Active Listening Skills
This 50-60 minute workshop, offered as a stand-alone program or as an additional focus-group extension to the “Listening to Understand” keynote, allows small groups to learn and practice the proper use of active listening skills, and to discuss how to break the stigma related to mental illness.
Gatekeepers: A Songwriter and a Sergeant and the Questions that Save Lives
In 2003, songwriter Meg Hutchinson read an article in The New Yorker featuring an interview with Kevin Briggs, a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol. Briggs had saved hundreds of people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge by asking them a few simple questions. Hutchinson wrote a song called “Gatekeeper” based on those questions and dedicated it to Briggs. Ten years later, Briggs heard the song and wrote to Hutchinson. They formed a friendship based on their dedication to mental health literacy and their shared struggles. With a deep commitment to suicide prevention, they offer two powerful perspectives on the issues that matter most in saving lives.
Kevin Briggs is available for panel discussions, leadership round-tables, and joint presentations with Meg Hutchinson. Other topics from Kevin include Individual in Crisis: Signs to Look For and Appropriately Respond To; Law Enforcement Response to Mental Illness/Crisis Calls; My Life as a Police Officer with Mental Illness: “How Did I Get Depression? What Am I Supposed to Do Now?”; Quality of Life Triad (developed by Briggs, its explanation and daily use for healthy living); Using the Crucial Benefit of Time at Critical Moments; Engaging and Normalizing the Feelings of a Suicidal Individual; I’m Here to Help! What to Say and What Not to Say; Mental Illness: What Stops People from Seeking Help; Breaking the Stigma for Seeking Help That Surrounds Mental Illness.