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Nearly 1,400 notes on bridge remind those who need it most to hold on to hope

AUBURN, Calif. -- "You matter! You are loved! People would be worse off if you died." "Think ... I will miss you so much, so please don't go."

Those are just two out of nearly 1,400 notes of love and encouragement, posted along both sides of the half-mile-long span of the Foresthill Bridge in Auburn, California.

Brittney Hendricks' quest to save lives began five weeks ago with just 240 of the handwritten notes, which she and others posted along the 730-foot high structure, the highest bridge in California. Eighty-seven people have ended their lives there since the bridge was built in 1973.

Hendricks' goal is that the notes will give a desperate person some hope and get them to change their mind.

"The more people talk about it I feel like the less kind of dark cloud it kind of has. Suicide affects a lot of people but nobody really talks about it."

Suicide is something that Hendricks knows all too well. Her grandfather committed suicide. Then, just years ago, her teenage son contemplated it.

Her husband, who is a disabled combat veteran, deals with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression almost every day.

"If we talked about it more and it wasn't such a taboo subject then maybe people would be OK with reaching out and asking for help," Hendricks said.

A spokesperson for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recently contacted Hendricks to say the notes have made the difference in saving someone's life.

"She had had a veteran who was on the bridge. He took one of our notes and contacted them," Henricks said. "He had told her that he had went to the bridge with intentions of contemplating jumping and he wasn't aware. He was just kind of blown away that people had gone out and done that."

"It could be your family member, your husband, your wife or your child on that bridge one day," Hendricks said. "And if there's anything that could possibly stop them, why wouldn't we do it?"

If you or a loved one are dealing with depression and need help, there is always someone to talk to. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed 24 hours each day. You can call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone any day of the week.

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