Thrive's Emergency Services Program Manager Featured in ProJo

Thrive's Emergency Services Program Manager Featured in ProJo

Published 07/02/2021

He survived a suicide jump from Pell Bridge. Now he aims to help others via Facebook.

By G. Wayne Miller, The Providence Journal
Photo credit: The Providence Journal

NEWPORT — Mark Gonsalves was experiencing severe and seemingly unstoppable depression in June 2015 when he drove to the top of the Pell Bridge, parked his car, and leaped over the railing.

Unlike so many Rhode Islanders who have lost their lives to suicide by jumping from this and other bridges, Gonsalves survived his 220-foot fall.

In the years that followed, he received professional help and became a leader in mental-health and addiction-recovery communities, an inspiration to others who have been — or still are — in the dark place where he was.


"It breaks my heart when I know that someone else is in those black moments of thought that I was was in — and I could still be in at any time," said Mark Gonsalves, recalling what led to his 2015 jump from the Pell Bridge, seen in background.

And now, Gonsalves has brought his passion for bettering well-being to social media with a public Facebook group, "Open Suicide Discussions: Choose life and talk about what's bothering you." 

Here, people are invited to start "talking freely about your pain" and asked to heed Gonsalves' message: "Suicide is not the answer. Sometimes it even causes a chain reaction. Save another life by saving your own life."

The background:Redemption -the fall and rise of Mark Gonsalves

Created on June 18, the group soon had nearly 150 members and a cascade of posts, including many by Gonsalves, who knows intimately not only depression and suicidal thoughts, but also addiction, trauma and involvement with the criminal-justice system, issues he also has encouraged members to discuss.

Where to turn if you are considering suicide

Anyone in immediate danger should call 911.

Other resources:

  • BHLink: For confidential support and to get connected to care, call (401) 414-LINK (5465) or visit the BHLink 24-hour/7-day triage center at 975 Waterman Ave., East Providence. Website:
  • The Samaritans of Rhode Island: (401) 272-4044 or (800) 365-4044. Website:
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK, or (800) 273-8255
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 “from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.”
  • Butler Hospital Behavioral Health Services Call Center: Available 24/7 “to guide individuals seeking advice for themselves or others regarding suicide prevention.” (844) 401-0111
  • Thrive Behavioral Health's Emergency Services' 24-hour crisis hotline: 401-738-4300.