Kind messages from Tonbridge teenagers help those who are struggling

Fifteen young people aged 15 to 17 who are engaged with the National Citizen Service [NCS] distributed the small posters as part of a social action project.

NCS is a government programme that allows children to embark on a four-week programme based on three principles: social cohesion, social engagement, social mobility.

Emily Phillips, leader of Team 10 Tonbridge NCS, told the Times: “We are overwhelmed with the responses from our first day.

“The group decided they wanted to focus on the promotion of mental health because although it is addressed, there are still some extremely heavy stigmas around it.

“The idea was that they’d get people to stop and think about the positives and their purpose in this world rather that the negatives that are so easy to gravitate towards when you are not feeling your best.”

Tonbridge is the base for West Kent Charlton Athletic NCS, and they chose locations such as the Big Bridge because they were the busiest places.

“There’s lots of bridges we’ve covered today but our main focus was the by-pass bridge near Aldi,” said Ms Phillips.

“Three people have already contacted us about how we stopped them from doing something they may have regretted and they called the Samaritans to get the help they needed.”

Some of the messages included the Samaritans’ phone number while others said ‘Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations’, ‘Keep your face to the sun and you can’t see a shadow’ and ‘H.O.P.E. – Hold on, pain ends’.

She said the group was motivated by their own experiences. “Every one of us in the group, whether it’s a leader or a young person, has been affected by mental health in some way or another. It is such a big subject.

She hopes the project will encourage others to do similar activities. “I am incredibly proud of my team for making such an impact within the community of Tonbridge,” she said.

“They have done a fantastic job and I hope that it inspires other young people to do one small act of kindness in their day because it goes a long way.”

During the rest of the week there will be further awareness and fundraising events including more surprise pop-ups.


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