A young woman distraught after her boyfriend committed suicide has left thousands of heart-warming messages across her hometown to help others who might be struggling.
Nicole Friel, 27, from Glasgow, was heartbroken when her boyfriend took his own life in October last year.
But as Nicole struggled to cope at the beginning of lockdown, she chose to use the time at her disposal to leave thousands of heart-warming post-it notes in Glasgow’s suicide spots – with the help of her best friends Robyn Crane and Lauren Watson.
Nicole, from Drumchapel, said: “I took the start of lockdown pretty bad. I’d lost my boyfriend to suicide in October last year and had to move back home with my parents.
“During lockdown, I started working from home so I was stuck in one room staring at four walls, which obviously made my mental health even worse.
“I started to put posts on social media where people would talk about how bad their mental health was and I knew it was going to be a domino effect and start hitting everybody.
“I suggested to Robyn and Lauren that we do something about it. I went out and bought Post-its and a laminator and we all sat in a room one night, crying writing out the notes.”
The notes – left on bridges, railways and wooded area – contained uplifting messages, along with the Samaritans helpline.
Nicole and her friends also set up a Facebook group called Suicide Prevention Squad, which now has more than 60,000 likes.
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Support worker Robyn said: "It started off with us leaving notes at places like the Erskine Bridge and along the River Clyde.
"It did cheer people up. A woman messaged to say she'd been thinking that she was ready to make a plan to take her own life. She told us she read the notes and it helped her.
"We've all come through tough times – now we want to show other people things do get better."
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Nicole had been in a relationship with Stephen Colquhum for five years before he died.
She admitted she felt ‘helpless’ when her boyfriend’s mental health down-spiralled.
She said: "Stef was very private and didn't want people to know he was depressed. He thought people would think he was weak. I'd constantly worry that he wasn't coming home.
"When he died, I didn't want to go on. But I knew I could never have my friends or family feeling the way I did. I wanted to do something that could prevent other people from going through the same thing."
Some of the thought-provoking notes have been shared on Twitter by TV host Calum Best and ex-Love Island contestant Malin Andersson.
- For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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