Suicide prevention is a year-round endeavor for St. Pete woman who fought back from the brink

All Tiffany Mills needs to make a difference is a hammer and some paper signs attached to small wooden posts.

"They should be able to see it from here," she said as she hammered one into the ground at a big intersection in St. Petersburg.

She put up more than 50 signs the week of Christmas, all over Pinellas County, that say things like, "This world is way better with you in it," and, "You are loved."

She got her start posting the signs at the top of the Sunshine Skyway, which is known to be a place where suicide attempts are made.

But now the Florida Department of Transportation has agreed to install plaques displaying the National Suicide Prevention hotline number, so she's spreading her message beyond the bridge.

At one time, she was the one who needed saving. After enduring abusive relationships and sexual assaults, she nearly killed herself.

"You are thinking nobody cares," she said. "You are thinking that even if somebody did know you were gone, they wouldn't care you were gone. It is a feeling of emptiness and a feeling of complete and total desperation."

Though some studies show suicides don't necessarily increase during the holidays, she puts more signs out because of how similar messages impacted her during her darkest periods.

"If you are already sad and hurting so bad inside and you see so many people around you happy with family, taking pictures, loving families, opening all these wonderful gifts, having all the things you don't have, it's hard, and it hurts," Mills said.

Today she is married, has three kids, and works in a doctors' office. If she hadn't taken the advice she now puts on her signs, none of that would have happened.

Mills hopes her signs will encourage others to reach out.

She also wants to start a non-profit so she can find better and more visible places to put up the signs so even more people will see them, and hopefully lives will be saved.