An 18-year-old girl’s ingenious idea to attach messages onto a bridge in Sunderland is inspiring those in despair to think twice before jumping.

Paige Hunter wrote more than 40 heartfelt notes and tied them to the railings of the Wearmouth Bridge hoping to provide comfort at a time when it is needed most.

The encouraging words penned by the East Durham College student included: ‘Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you’re a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on’.

Northumbria Police presented her with a framed commendation certificate this week, with Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt explaining, “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.”

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“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. She should be very proud of herself.”

By Northumbria Police – Sign includes hotline phone number

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.”

“It’s just amazing, the response it has had. I’ve been told it’s already helped save six lives.”

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A team set up in 2013 across six local jurisdictions already sends dedicated officers and mental health nurses to respond to individuals in crisis who have come into contact with the police, ensuring they receive mental health support and an assessment of their needs at an early stage.

She includes a phone number on her signs for a group called Samaritans that offers free support to anyone in the UK who is in emotional distress: 116 123

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