Jenny Amphlett, left, who works for The Sentinel, Stoke, has recalled the incident, which took place as she was driving along a country lane last month with her mother and six-year-old daughter.
The girl was was perched on top of the railings – one of her legs dangling down towards the M6 carriageway below.
Jenny stopped the car and walked over to the girl, leaving her mum with a mobile phone in case she needed to dial 999.
Recalling the incident in a piece for The Sentinel, Jenny wrote: “If I sound brave, I wasn’t feeling it. If I sound like I knew what I was doing, I really didn’t. I wasn’t really feeling anything.
“It was genuinely one of those incidents that involves no thought, or time to think, until afterwards. I walked over to the girl, instinctively trying not to get too close or to attempt to touch her.”
Jenny asked the girl if she was OK, and several times if she could help – telling the girl her name and asking for hers.
She continued: “Then I just told her to get down from the railings, to come over to stand with me. And, mercifully, she did. I saw her face for the first time then. She was young and pretty, but her eyes were completely blank and vacant.
“She was very obedient. She did exactly what I told her and answered my questions, albeit in monosyllables.
“I don’t want to risk identifying the young lady, so I’m not going to say exactly where on the motorway this incident happened, exactly when it happened, or give any more details about her.
“What I will say is that she was very young, alone, and – in that moment – was feeling incredibly sad. I persuaded her to get into my car, which immediately felt a lot safer to me, and started to drive her home.
“She didn’t have family or friends who I could call to be with her, but she was able to give me a number for a support worker so that I could alert him. I felt absolutely terrible leaving her. I put my arm around her and told her not to go back to that bridge, to think about her family and friends. I told her that nothing was worth ending her life for.”
Jenny says she has worried “almost constantly about the girl since.
She concluded: “I was in two minds about sharing this experience. I would never want to do anything to identify or embarrass the young lady in question. I certainly don’t need anyone to say ‘well done’.
“I’ve written about this experience because it has genuinely moved me. I’ve written about it because Sentinel journalists report on incidents like this with alarming regularity. But mostly I’ve written about it because perhaps, by sharing this story, it might help someone else.
“Sometimes we all feel alone. But I would like to think there is always someone who cares – even if it’s just a stranger driving past in their car. If we look around, there are probably ways that we can all help one another out every single day of the week.
“Because, occasionally, we all need an arm round the shoulder. I know I do. I like to think that no-one would have driven past that young woman without stopping to try to do something to help.”
Jenny told HTFP: “We gave very careful consideration to whether or not to run with the article, and how it should be presented if we did. An important factor was that we didn’t want to expose the person involved and risk identifying her.
“We ultimately decided to run with the article in the hope that it would achieve something positive.”