An inspirational teenager who has pinned uplifting messages onto a Sunderland bridge to help those in despair has been commended by Northumbria Police.
Paige Hunter, 18, has written more than 40 heartfelt notes and attached them to the railings of the Wearmouth Bridge to offer solace to people facing a mental health crisis.
The messages penned by the East Durham College student, of Plains Farm, include: ‘Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you’re a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on’.
As the caring teenager returned to the bridge this week, Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt presented her with a framed commendation certificate on behalf of the Force to recognise her selfless acts.
“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 Ch Supt 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.
“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.”
“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.”
In partnership with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), Northumbria Police’s Street Triage service sees a team of dedicated officers and mental health nurses work alongside each other across Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland.
Set up in 2013, the team responds to individuals experiencing a mental health 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.
The team also advise and guide frontline officers on the best course of action for the individual.
For more information on the work they do visit www.ntw.nhs.uk.