Woman spreads messages of hope on Sunshine Skyway bridge

The Sunshine Skyway bridge is an iconic landmark in the Tampa Bay area -- but it's sadly also the final destination for many contemplating suicide.

Tiffany Mills made it her mission to help anyone on the bridge who's considered ending their life.

"I started looking at how many people jump and how often they jump, it broke my freaking heart," she said. "I know what it's like to be in that dark place, I know what it's like to feel like nothing's going to get better. I wanted to do something, somehow."

Mills started leaving notes on the side of the bridge, with small but powerful messages of hope.

"Some of them said, 'this world is a better place with you in it,'" she told FOX 13. "Some of them said, 'if you're looking for a sign, this is it' and then they had the suicide prevention hot line number."

And on some of those notes, she even wrote her personal phone number to offer a listening ear to anyone who might need it.

"I got so many calls and texts from family members and friends of people who had previously jumped or thought about it or people who almost did, it was overwhelming," Mills said.

While her notes were temporary, they had a lasting impact. The Florida Department of Transportation now has permanent signs placed around the bridge, reminding anyone who sees them that there's always another option.

Mills said she plans to continue spreading encouragement to those who need it, and hopes others will join her.

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text to 741-741.

Click here for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.