'It's incredible that this could save someone’s life'

Laminated yellow and white card saying 'Believe in Yourself' and an Instagram handle.

16-year-old Holly Abbott put messages of hope on bridges in Hatfield and Welwyn to help prevent people from taking their own lives. - Credit: Holly Abbott

A Welwyn teenager's mental health initiative, Cards of Calm, has helped save the life of someone with suicidal thoughts. 

For Suicide Awareness Month in September, 16-year-old Holly Abbott made small cards featuring a hopeful quote and a helpline number. She placed them on bridges in Welwyn and Hatfield to reach people in acute mental distress.

Sadly, some of the cards were mysteriously taken down. But one, buried in a pile of wet leaves, managed to reach someone who really needed it, at just the right time.

Bright yellow and white laminated card attached to a bridge which says Talk about it - Cards of Calm.

Before the cards were taken down. - Credit: Holly Abbott

At 2am on Sunday, December 5, Holly received an email from a woman.

"She said she had lost all faith and wanted to give up. She had found one of the cards in a pile of leaves. Something told her to check what the plastic in the leaves was," Holly said. That card saved the woman's life. 

The woman, a 27-year-old from Welwyn Hatfield who asked not to be named, explained why she was feeling low that night.

"I won’t lie, I have my dream job, I have people around me who love me and care about me. I am a Christian and I regularly go to church and I am spoilt with stability for someone my age my dream job, I have people around me who love me and care about me," she said.

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"However, I get times when I feel alone, misunderstood, and just unable to fit in with life. It makes my mood go very very low. But what makes the mood worse is not knowing why I feel that way.

"Of course I don’t think I would ever go down a dark route but I most certainly have those crippling thoughts."

The woman went for a walk in Hatfield during the early hours of Sunday to "find herself again". She was freezing cold and "hurting" when she came across a bright yellow card on the ground.

The card read: "Believe in yourself." The message gave the woman a sudden change of heart.

"It was the timing, the placement and how it just so happened to be there illuminating out from amongst the dark wet pile of leaves just at the right time and right place," she said.

Holly said: "It's incredible that this could save someone’s life. I hope that if I put more cards up, they can reach more people."

Through Holly's non-profit, Cards of Calm, she creates cards and packages for people in the UK who are struggling. Since May 2020, Holly has sent over 300 cards and packages to people. 

Holly's mum, Martine, said: "We are all so proud of her for taking this initiative and creating something amazing with it."

If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to you can contact the Samaritans 24/7 helpline on 116 123.

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