Editor’s note: This article contains topics that could be upsetting to some, including suicide and sexual assault. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, help is available by calling 988 or visiting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is an iconic landmark in Tampa Bay. Its beauty is remarkable, its stature breathtaking — but this inspiring bridge also casts a shadow.

Since its opening in 1987, hundreds of people have come to this landmark – not to sightsee, but to end their lives.

Tiffany Mills was almost one of them.

“If I wasn’t here, I couldn’t burden other people with my trauma, my emotions, my triggers, my pain, my baggage, my everything,” Tiffany said, holding back her tears.

Traumatic moments in her life drove her to a depressive state and to the bridge.

“I went through my very first sexual assault at 16 years old,” Mills recalled, “I felt disgusting, I felt horrible about myself, I felt like I was nothing.”

Once on the bridge, Mills did not jump. She said a song on the radio reminded her of her strength to keep moving forward.

Tiffany Mills has survived four suicide attempts and now helps empower others struggling with mental health.

“It was the song ‘Brave.’ I have the lyrics tattooed on my arm,” she said, pointing to it.  

Words, Mills says, carry the power to save. That’s why she began to use her words to pull herself and others out of a dark place.

“On my birthday I took plain white, printing paper and wrote out 200 signs of different inspirational messages and words of hope and encouragement – and my phone number,” she said.

One by one, Mills taped the paper signs to the Skyway. Soon after, her phone rang.

The caller was on the bridge.  

“I told them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they said, ‘I don’t see it.’ And I said, ‘that’s because you’re not moving, you have to keep walking,'” Mills recalled. “You have to keep going. Otherwise, you’re not going to have the chance to see it get better, and you deserve to.”

That person didn’t jump, Mills says.

“I was quite calm on the phone – absolutely hysterical when I hung up, and that was kind of my take-off moment of when I realized maybe these signs won’t mean a lot to a lot of people but it could be life-changing for somebody,” she said.

Mills’ paper signs are no longer on the bridge after being deemed a hazard. But Mills and a local nonprofit fought for the Florida Department of Transportation to place a permanent sign in their place.

“It could be life-changing for somebody,” Mills said. “I feel like sometimes a lot of people are simply looking for a sign to stay. A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to actually reach out and say, ‘hey, I need help.'”

Mills says reaching out for help is the hardest thing she has done. She says she attempted suicide four times and survived every time.

She’s now a mother of three.

Tiffany’s nonprofit Signed, With Love places hundreds of motivational signs across Tampa Bay.

“Who’s going to be here for my kids? Who’s going to be here for my friends? Who’s going to be here for all the other people who are reading these signs and saying this is hopeful, this is a big deal, this matters,” she said.

Surviving time and time again gave Mills a purpose. It has a name: Signed with Love, a nonprofit aimed at destigmatizing mental health and suicide.

“I’ve had people donate and I’ve been able to drive people to and from a therapy appointment or I’ve been able to fill medication for them,” Mills said with a smile.

She also places hundreds of signs, some handmade and some donated by local printing shops, all across the Tampa Bay area to remind you that you are loved.

“Because it matters, everybody’s existence matters,” Mills said. “Even if I don’t know you, you matter to me.”

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide or struggling with mental health, there are people out there ready to listen and help. You are not alone. Contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or Tampa Bay Cares by dialing 211.