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NAMI: A Random Act of Kindness Could Prevent Suicide

PHOTO: A simple smile could mean the world to someone down on their luck during "Random Acts of Kindness Week." Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
PHOTO: A simple smile could mean the world to someone down on their luck during "Random Acts of Kindness Week." Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
February 14, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While Valentine's Day may get much of the attention today, it's also Random Acts of Kindness Week, and simply smiling at a person could prevent something as tragic as a suicide, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Rebecca Glathar, a NAMI executive, says people battling mental illness are often isolated and feel alone or misunderstood, and that kindness from another person can be very powerful.

"There have been studies that have shown something as simple a smile has changed the mind of an individual who's considering taking their own life by suicide," she says.

Glathar says being kind is good not only for the recipient of that kindness, but also for the person who has taken the time to be kind.

She says volunteers at NAMI are proof that giving can be as valuable as receiving.

"Those individuals who are teaching and sharing their stories and helping support others who are struggling,” she relates, “all say, ‘I do this not only to help the other person but because it helps me to feel better about myself.’"

Random Acts of Kindness Week asks that everyone try to step out of his or her normal routine and comfort zone and do something nice for someone else each day this week.

Suggestions include buying a stranger coffee, volunteering, paying someone a compliment and, of course, smiling.




Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH