A teenager who left uplifting messages on a bridge to help those in despair has been commended by police.
Paige Hunter has written more than 40 heartfelt notes and attached them to the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland - a notorious suicide hotspot - to offer solace to people facing mental health crises.
One of the messages left by the 18-year-old said: “Even though things are difficult, your life matters, you’re a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on.”
Hunter has received a framed commendation certificate on behalf of Northumbria Police in recognition of her selfless acts.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: “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.
“Paige has shown an incredible understanding of vulnerable people in need of support and this is such 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.
“It is important that we encourage people to speak out and raise awareness of mental health issues and the impact on peoples’ lives.”
After receiving the commendation, the sales assistant, who works at Poundworld, said: “I wasn’t doing this for an award; it was just something that I wanted to do.
“My family are just proud of me and I’m going to put it up on the wall. I just want to help people and I’ve been told it’s already helped save six lives.”
She added: “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.”
Useful websites and helplines
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and Ireland (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
You can call Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Monday-Friday 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.
Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.