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Inspirational notes left on Northeast Ohio bridges to prevent suicide

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 3:22 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 8:16 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A local woman who posts suicide prevention signs along Northeast Ohio bridges is making a difference.

Her messages are saving people’s lives.

“What I’m doing is I created a bunch of signs that have motivational quotes and also a crisis number, suicide prevention number,” said Jen Stross, the woman who has been posting thoughtful, motivational notes on Northeast Ohio bridges, hoping to save suicidal people from jumping to their deaths.

And her notes appear to be working.

“I started crying, but I wound up deciding not to jump. I was riding home from work one night and wound up on the Hilliard bridge and was thinking about ending things,” said Joe, who we are identifying by his first name only to protect his identity. “Depression is something I struggle with everyday. But I got on the bridge, and I saw some signs trying to discourage suicide and there were some flowers and a candle and it made me stop and think.”

Joe’s story is what keeps Stross posting these signs on bridges.

“That way they know that somebody cares. Somebody is out there thinking about them,” said Stross. “They have the resource to call in case they want to talk and get some help. It’s already cut back on suicide on the Lorain Road bridge, so hopefully, Brookpark will follow and Hilliard will follow with the fence as well.”

Stross has been placing signs on these bridges for the last three years. She hopes that officials will also step up to prevent deaths by adding fences to the bridges.

Until then, she’ll continue to leave her notes because she’s got an important message for those considering ending their lives:

“Just keep going,” she said. “You have a purpose. You matter.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. It’s available 24 hours.

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