Woman Who Almost Jumped From Bridge Saves Others' Lives With 'Notes Of Hope'

Although there are times in all of our lives when we can feel exhausted and overwhelmed, the unfortunate reality is that for some, those feelings can be close to an everyday occurrence.

Although mental health conditions can vary in severity and in how frequently they flare up, it's also true that the particularly rough periods in living with these issues can sometimes feel like they'll never end. And in particularly sad cases, some can even find themselves feeling as though they don't deserve to feel better.

This can all make it very easy to lose hope, which often puts people at risk of doing something they can't reverse. But it's important to remember that in these vulnerable times, even the right words can make a lifesaving difference.

And that's precisely why one woman keeps a vigilant watch over a local bridge to ensure it is never without her "notes of hope."

TW: this article contains depictions or discussions of suicide and may be triggering to some readers.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Back in January of 2018, 21-year-old Paige Hunter of Sunderland, England found herself standing on the edge of Wearmouth Bridge.

As she told The Washington Post, she lives with post-traumatic stress disorder and was in the midst of dark chapter in her life at the time.

But while she contemplated jumping, she was approached by two strangers who told her, "You are worth so much more than this."

She credits these words with changing her life and helping her step away from the bridge.

But that night, they also became inspirational for Hunter in a different way, as she found herself wondering, "If those words could help me, who else could they help?"

And so the following day, she returned to the bridge to post several pieces of paper bearing the words that saved her life along its rails.

This was the beginning of a tradition that's she's carried on ever since.

In the three years since that fateful day, she's left over 1,000 "notes of hope" like the one you see here encouraging people in a similar position that she was in to give their lives another chance.

These handwritten notes are colorful, laminated, and bear contact information for mental health resources. She also replaces them every two weeks and sometimes more often during times of inclement weather.

And judging by the messages she and local officials have received since she's started her Notes of Hopes initiative, she's already saved dozens of lives.

That was the case for 25-year-old Sarah Erica, who lives with anxiety and depression and came across her signs while also eyeing the bridge in 2018.

As she told The Washington Post, "Paige is obviously fighting such a battle. To see someone who has fought through and through every day has given me motivation to want to carry on."

Callum Doggrell, 25, also credits Hunter for saving his life, saying, "She is the kind of person that will deny she has ever done anything to help. [But her notes] brought me back from the edge. What this young woman has done is saved countless lives."

For the difference she's made in her community, Hunter was honored by Northumbria Police in 2018 and received an award from her community the following year.

According to The Washington Post, her actions also inspired Sunderland City Council member Dominic McDonough to launch a motion pledging to make similar signs a permanent fixture on Wearmouth Bridge.

Although construction on those permanent signs has since been delayed due to the pandemic, the motion passed unanimously.

As for Hunter, she said the work of making her notes of hope has been as helpful in her daily struggles as it has been for others.

In her words, "It’s definitely therapeutic for me to write these messages. I believe helping other people has helped me tremendously."

h/t: The Washington Post

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