Kind gestures are often extra special when received from a stranger. Do-gooders like Brennon Jones, a barber for the homeless, can probably vouch for that. A little always goes a long way, sometimes even saving a life. Such was the case for Glen Oliver, who inspired an anonymous suicidal coffeegoer to live by paying for his drink.
“I wondered why someone would buy coffee for a stranger for no reason. Why me? Why today? If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose,” [read a letter sent to a local column.]
Oliver, who had once shouldered a needy shopper’s tab, claimed paying it forward had simply become a habit. Giving out a free beverage and even picking up a bill was just an everyday routine.
“It’s exponential now, you know? Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be … the planets align for somebody.” [said Oliver.]
The going may get tough, but the tough often bounce back — kind gestures are always welcome!
As it becomes less of a stigma, mental health is finally receiving the attention it deserves. People are embracing their conditions thanks to online tools like DIY therapy and help hotlines. Notwithstanding, feeling vulnerable and ashamed remains a looming issue — one that Sweden is tackling firsthand. Countering rising suicide rates, Stockholm has introduced the world’s first mental health ambulance.
Inside the ambulance is a warm, inviting area equipped with comfortable seats instead of medical equipment, two mental health nurses and one paramedic.
The Psychiatric Emergency Response Team attends to roughly 130 calls monthly, countering 15,000 attempts annually. So far, the ambulance’s success rate has risen steadily.
“I can’t see any reason as to why the project shouldn’t continue,” [Mental Health Emergency head Fredrik] Bengtsson said. “It has been considered a huge success by police, nurses, healthcare officials, as well as by the patients.”
It sounds as though Sweden is the first to get things right. If mental illness is as urgent as physical trauma, why not treat it as such?