Tyne & Wear

Teenager's bridge notes 'help save six lives' in Sunderland

Paige Hunter and Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Paige Hunter received a commendation certificate from Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt

A teenager who attached uplifting messages to a bridge to help people facing a mental health crisis has helped save six lives, police said.

Paige Hunter, 18, tied more than 40 notes to Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge.

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

Northumbria Police Ch Supt Sarah Pitt said it was an "innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place".

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Paige Hunter attached more than 40 notes to Wearmouth Bridge

She said it was important to encourage people to speak out about mental health problems, adding: "Paige has shown an incredible understanding of vulnerable people in need of support.

"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."

Where to get help

If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.

For support and more information on emotional distress, click here. You can also call for free, at any time, to hear recorded information on 0800 066 066.

'Really inspiring'

Image copyright Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Image caption Wearmouth Bridge crosses the River Wear near Sunderland city centre

The East Durham College student, who also works at Poundworld, was given a commendation certificate from the force.

Paige said: "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. I wasn't doing this for an award; it was just something that I wanted to do."

Since 2013, Northumbria Police's Street Triage service has seen a team of dedicated officers and mental health nurses work alongside each other to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

It was set up in partnership with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

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