1. ITV Report

150 handwritten notes to help people in their darkest times taken down by council

150 handwritten notes, designed to help people in the darkest of times, have been taken down from the bridge where they were displayed by a county council.

Credit: Katie Houghton

Katie Houghton spent a month writing out notes with inspirational and uplifting phrases, or recruiting other people to do the same.

Credit: Katie Houghton

She tied them one by one to a bridge in Worcestershire, hoping they might be of some help to people at their lowest point.

I wanted to make a difference...The notes were all written from the heart.

It has been proven these notes help people and I'm distraught that all the hard work has literally gone in the bin.

– Katie Houghton
Credit: Katie Houghton

She said she was inspired by 18-year-old Paige Hunter, who won a police commendation for her efforts pinning notes to a bridge in Sunderland.

When Katie returned to the bridge three days later, her notes were gone. And all that remained were the cable ties.

However, Worcestershire County Council tell us they were forced to take action, pointing out that the notes were unauthorised, and posed a danger to drivers passing under the footbridge.

We regret if the removal of posters from a bridge in Redditch has caused some distress but we have the legal responsibility to keep our highways safe.

We take down unauthorised roadside distractions to reduce the risk of accidents on our roads.

We have kept the messages and we hope to meet with Ms Houghton to discuss if there is a way that we can use the messages in any future mental health campaigns. There is advice and guidance from the Samaritans on display close to the bridge.

The council is working closely with partners 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.

– Worcestershire County Council spokesperson

There was so much local support for this...I am heartbroken and disgusted.

– Katie Houghton