Bridges covered in supportive messages as part of suicide awareness campaign

Two bridges in Peterborough will be adorned with supportive messages to help anyone struggling with mental health problems as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Dozens of messages written on pieces of paper will be tied to the sides of the following bridges - Eastfield Road (near Sainsbury's) and Junction 16 of the Soke Parkway (near the city hospital) as part of the international initiative on Monday 10 September.

Fifteen messages will be tied to each bridge side - these include ‘It is okay not to be okay’, ‘Be strong because things will get better’ and messages advising people to contact the Samaritans if they are experiencing problems.

The idea stems from a campaign started by Lisa Barnes from Lancashire, whose struggle with mental health and potential overdose had led to her standing on a bridge, contemplating taking her own life. Luckily, she was helped by police support officers and a negotiator who referred her to counselling sessions.

Inspired by her own struggle and the suffering of those on a ‘hotspot bridge’ near her home, Lisa decided that it was time to bridge the gap between mental health issues and the help on offer, so she and her husband created the Bridge the Gap page on Facebook.

They started on the bridge that Lisa had found help on, covering it in simple but powerful messages in the hope that they may change the mind of someone contemplating ending their life. She says the campaign has already saved the lives of ten people since it launched in June this year.

Peterborough City Council, in partnership with Skanska, is supporting the campaign and hopes that the bridge initiative will become a regular event.

Hellena Wood, a mental health ambassador at Peterborough City Council, said: “The campaign has helped to save lives nationally and we wanted to try it in Peterborough as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.

"The aim is to ensure that anyone struggling with mental health is made aware they are not alone and that there is support out there, so they know where they can turn to."

Many bridges all over the UK will also be covered in supportive messages on 10 September in the hope that anyone who is struggling with mental health is aware of how they can get help.

If you are struggling with mental health issues and need someone to talk to, the Samaritans can be contacted by calling 116 123.

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