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Musketts Way Bridge Notes Of Hope - Suicide Prevention - Permission To Hang Our Notes!

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Musketts Way Bridge is an extremely high bridge over Bromsgrove highway. It is notorious for people taking their own lives.

I hung 150 notes of hope to this bridge which took four weeks to make along with two other ladies and their children who had also made extra heartfelt notes for hours on Saturday 4th August for three days later them to be ripped down by Worestershire County Council.

I am calling for Worcestershire County council to allow these notes to be remade and re hung and rethink their extremely blinkered view of this situation and think outside the box. 

I organised a project called Musketts Way Notes Of Hope whereby I invited people to join me in making handwritten notes of hope to attach to the bridge itself. 

I personally made 150 notes over around a month each night for the project. 

I have battled with mental health issues for 15 years including self harm, anorexia, OCD and bipolar disorder. I have had six hospital admissions including three for feeling suicidal and so I am very passionate about raising awareness on mental health and helping others.

I started the project as I also send "Happy post" free to those struggling with mental illness which is a note of hope from me with inspiration and to show that the dark days can change. I had seen notes hung on bridges in other areas of the country and it fit in well with what I was already doing and decided to bring it  to a local area and to this bridge that had cost so many their lives and people their family members to try and reach if just one person. 

I know from experience that sometimes it can be the smallest of things that make a difference. Something that you weren't expecting at the time of taking your own life that somehow can shift you brain in to a different gear and think about what you are doing.  These notes could save a life, Fact.

I am not naive enough to think that this could save everyone, i do know however that this could save one person. 

I know this because a week before my own project was due to take place Paige Hunter made national news with a similar project. In a short time her notes had saved six lives and she was commended and given an award by her local police, proving that projects like this work! People can make a difference and it gave me hope about my own project reaching vulnerable people at this well known bridge. 

I invested time and money for the materials and so much personal emotion in to each and every single note that I wrote from my own perspectives to the person who may be reading them. They weren't generic notes and numbers. They were from my heart to someone elses from lived experience of feeling suicidal. 

At the beginning of this project i had emailed Redditch council to no avail. Once it made the front page of the Redditch Advertiser a Redditch Councillor contacted me and he backed the project and was going to try to do all he could to get permission. I heard nothing and so with a group of people wanting to make a difference we decided to set a date. I had spoken to numerous other girls who have done this in other areas of the country. None had got council permission and all were met with nothing but positivity, including Paige and so I thought it wouldn't be a problem. 

Musketts Way Bridge has been campaigned against over the years due to the suicides and all have been rejected, including one from a former local mayor. This project cost the Council nothing and was done by the public and so you would imagine they would welcome it. 

Not So. 

Three days after attaching all the signs they were torn down by Worcestershire County Council.

The bridge had looked wonderful and the support was overwhelming, I spoke to people throughout this project who had dealt with mental health issues, who had lost family to suicide and even some from the bridge itself.

I even had emails from people who had been looking for places to end their lives in the area who had come across the project via the internet and instead emailed me and I spoke to them. I sent them Happy post from my other project and I told them to email me any time. It opened up communication on mental health, it reached further than the bridge itself!  People backed it all the way.

It was all done neatly, with cable ties so that none would come loose due to traffic below and cars beeped horns in encouragement as we attached them. People walked by and said how amazing it was and spoke about mental health. That was what it was all about. Mental health and suicide awareness and saving if only one person.

England flags had been hung to the bridge with no issue, signs and advertising are placed on roundabouts and roadsides with no issue, some of which the council will receive payment for with no issue. Yet below is Worcester County Councils reasoning as to why they were taken down:

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council confirmed it was the council which removed them.

"In order to avoid distractions to motorists and reduce the risk of accidents it's our policy to remove any unauthorised signs and posters from the highway," they said.

"There is advice and guidance from the Samaritans on display close to the bridge.

"The council is working closely with partners, including from Redditch on a Suicide Prevention Plan. A Time to Change hub has recently been established in Worcestershire to encourage people to talk more openly and reduce the stigma around mental health."

 Click here to see the " distracting " view from the road"

Worcestershire is a very big place and there is no clues as to where this hub is, and as someone who actively supports Time To Change, is signed up as a Time To Change Champion and who has made vlogs for them which they have shared and as someone very interested in their work and what they do I am also very aware that time To Change are a charity that focus on stigma around mental health. predominantly public stigma, to reduce the stigmatised thinking of the general public around mental health. I know this from being an active follower and also from asking them to share other projects of mine of which they have said they cannot share as it is not what they are focused on. They are a wonderful charity, targeting an area of mental health awareness that needs targeting but they do not focus of suicide prevention. Other charities do this. These Charities I have myself been sign posted to from Time To Chage and if Worcester County Council had done their homework then they would be aware of this.