Humberside

Humber Bridge broadcasts positive mental health message

Humber bridge
Image caption The bridge, near Hull, crosses the Humber estuary

Positive messages are to be played over speakers on the Humber Bridge as part of a suicide prevention campaign.

The You Are Not Alone project has been designed by young people aged between 12 and 20 from Hull.

The messages and poems about mental health are to be heard by those who walk or cycle over the bridge's 1.4-mile (2.2 km) length.

One aim of the campaign is to help break the taboo of talking about suicide.

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Headstart Hull's idea has been supported by the Humber Bridge Board that runs the crossing.

The Grade 1-listed Humber Bridge, opened in 1981, is known to be a site of frequent suicide.

The group wanted to create an artistic approach by broadcasting reassuring sound bites to prevent future tragedy.

It wants all of Hull's children and young people to know that they are not alone, that people care and help is available.

The idea was developed by young people, some of whom have lost friends and family members through suicide or have struggled with depression.

Gail Teasdale, of Headstart Hull, said the project was to build "young people's emotional resilience and encourage them to talk about their problems before they develop into anything more serious".

She added that there had been "years of stigma associated with mental health".

With support from poet Vicky Foster and sound designer Mark Jones, the young people have produced inspirational messages and poems to tackle the taboo of mental health.

Keep On Going

An excerpt of a poem by Ben from Headstart

Always hold on to hope,

The whole world is your telescope,

There is always someone who cares about you, supporting you,

Wanting you to pull through,

Things will get better...

Twelve speakers along the west walkway of the bridge will be used for the messages and poems until 17 April and at other times to coincide with national campaigns.

There are also plans to install the soundscape in other locations in the city, said Headstart.

If you are feeling emotionally distressed and would like details of organisations which offer advice and support, go online to bbc.co.uk/actionline or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information 0800 066 066.

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