Tags: paige hunter | wearmouth bridge | notes | suicide

Paige Hunter's Notes on Wearmouth Bridge in England Help Save Lives

Paige Hunter's Notes on Wearmouth Bridge in England Help Save Lives

Pedestrians walk over the Wearmouth bridge on Feb. 7, 2017, in Sunderland, United Kingdom. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 23 July 2018 10:52 AM

Paige Hunter, an 18-year-old who stuck uplifting notes to Wearmouth Bridge in England, has helped save six lives already, police announced Sunday.

Over the years the bridge has become a popular suicide hot spot and authorities have deemed it a "public safety problem," The Sunderland Echo reported.

Hunter realized she may not be able to physically save every person wanting to end their lives by jumping from the bridge, but she could try to reach out to them by leaving behind messages of hope, Fox News noted.

"Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you’re a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on," the East Durham College student wrote in one of her notes, not expecting that she would reach out and touch so many lives.

"I just want to help people and I’ve been told it’s already helped save six lives," she said in a statement. "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."

Her efforts were acknowledged by local police, who presented her with a framed commendation certificate.

"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," said Northumbria Police chief superintendent Sarah Pitt. "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."

Often police, expert negotiators, paramedics and fire fighters are called out to Wearmouth Bridge, where there have been several fatal suicides in the past few years and dozens of other unsuccessful suicide attempts.

A review of the national suicide rate found that police responded to 222 distress calls between 2010 and 2013, all entailing people threatening to jump from the bridge, according to a report on the Sunderland City Council website.

It has reached the point that there are signs with helpline numbers placed along the bridge in a bid to prevent the numbers from increasing.

Meanwhile, in the United States, suicide rates are up in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016, according to a new government report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling for prevention efforts, often focused on mental health, to be broadened to also focus on people undergoing life stresses like job losses or divorces.

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Paige Hunter has been placing uplifting notes on Wearmouth Bridge in England, and police say the 18-year-old's effort has helped save lives.
paige hunter, wearmouth bridge, notes, suicide
Monday, 23 July 2018 10:52 AM
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