Teen 'Helped Save Six Lives' After Posting Inspirational Notes On A Bridge

"Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you're a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on."

When life becomes overwhelming, hope often manifests in unexpected ways. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the actions of one 18-year-old woman has already helped save six lives.

Paige Hunter, a student at East Durham College, has attached more than 40 "heartfelt notes" to the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland, England, in an effort to "offer solace to people facing a mental health crisis," according to the Northumbria Police's news release. Over the years, many have died by suicide on the bridge, making it a "public safety problem," as The Sunderland Echo noted.

Thus, Hunter's notes — which included such messages as, "Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you're a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on" — earned her a framed certificate commending her good deed.

"We thought it was important to applaud the work Paige has been doing and the help she has given those in Sunderland who are going through a mental health crisis," Northumbria Police chief superintendent Sarah Pitt said in an official statement. "Paige has shown an incredible understanding of vulnerable people in need of support, and this is an innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place."

"For somebody so young, Paige has shown a real maturity and we thought it would only be right to thank her personally. She should be very proud of herself," Pitt added. "It is important that we encourage people to speak out and raise awareness of mental health issues and the impact on peoples' lives."

According to the Sunderland City Council website, a review of the national suicide rate revealed that police responded to 222 distress calls between 2010 and 2013, all involving people threatening to jump from the bridge.

Of course, while Hunter noted that she might not be able to physically save every person who comes to the bridge intent on jumping, she could try to reach out to them by leaving messages of hope and inspiration.

"My family [is] just proud of me and I'm going to put it up on the wall," Hunter said of her commendation. "I just want to help people and I've been told it's already helped save six lives."

"Since I put the messages up, I've had a lot of comments from people. They've said it's been really inspiring. It's just amazing, the response it has had," Hunter added. "I wasn't doing this for an award; it was just something that I wanted to do."

Cover image via Northumbria Police

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