Suicide Prevention Month: Sarah Bingley shares her story of survival after jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge to attempt suicide

CHICAGO (WLS) — Nine months after a complete spinal cord injury, Sarah Bingley is finding ways to cope.

She found clever ways to drive her car with suggestions from other people with similar paralysis.

At 19, she is looking for ways to achieve her goals and enjoy a new outlook on life.

“I can take care of myself. I can redo things that I love…I can cook and cook,” Sarah Bingley said.

Bingley freely shares her story with others who have paralysis and others struggling with mental health issues after she was injured when she attempted suicide.

“I had more serious suicidal thoughts. In fact, I’ve had them on and off for most of my life,” she said.

In October, she jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I collapsed both of my lungs; tore my ACL and MCL; broke a bunch of vertebrae and some bones and maybe a pelvis; broke my ankle and suffered an injury to the T11 spinal cord,” Bingley said.

Even with the physical pain that remains, Bingley said after the jump, she finally got the mental health treatment she needed and now feels more positive and mentally healthy than she ever has.

“I felt so different, I didn’t know people felt that way,” Bingley said. “I didn’t realize I needed help with anything. I just felt normal, that’s how everyone felt.”

“To see someone come out of such a vulnerable and pivotal time in their life and change that, or use it in what they’re doing right now, which is advocacy outreach, I’ll never forget. that,” said Maddie Nelson of the Shirley Ryan Ability. Laboratory.

Nelson is a licensed clinical social worker and was among the first to help Bingley at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab when the teenager was able to return to the Chicago area.

“Sharing stories of survival, and also hope, in mental health is key to enabling people to access it,” Nelson said.

“I know it’s getting better — it can get better if you’re willing to work for it,” Bingley said.

Bingley was pre-med before the suicide attempt. Now, after receiving treatment for her mental health, she wants to focus on occupational therapy and helping others overcome physical and psychological challenges.

She said she was taking this semester and would start in the spring. She also works with Think First, an injury prevention program.

If you are experiencing suicidal, addiction or other mental health crises, please call or text the new three-digit code to 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 7. You can also go to 988lifeline.org or dial the current toll-free number 800-273-8255 [TALK].

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