After losing his son to suicide, this Virginia senator knew he needed to act.

Sen. Creigh Deeds of Virginia understands the importance of mental health care better than most.

In the midst of a mental health crisis, he was stabbed by his son Gus 13 times on Nov. 19, 2013, before Gus shot himself and died by suicide.  Deeds survived the attack, dumbfounded by what happened.

The day before the incident, a judge had issued an emergency custody order to place Gus in a mental health facility. But due to a bed shortage, he was released after just six hours.


It was a tragedy — and one that should have been prevented. Gus and his father were close. During Deeds' 2009 run for governor, Gus was a mainstay at Deeds' campaign events. His violent outburst seemed out of character to everyone, including Deeds.

Deeds hugs his son on election night 2009. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

In the wake of his son's death, Deeds set out to fix Virginia's mental health system — and this July, a law he championed went into effect.

Virginia and New York have both enacted legislation to require schools to include mental health-related issues as part of physical education and health courses. Virginia will mandate the development of a mental health curriculum for high schools, while New York will require it to be covered throughout K-12 classes.

In 2014, Deeds introduced a bill to double the maximum amount of time people could be held on emergency custody orders (12 hours, up from six), as well as creating a more streamlined communications process between law enforcement and local community services boards. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we don't devote nearly enough resources to it.

The overwhelming majority of people who struggle with mental health problems won't commit a violent act like Gus Deeds. In fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than they are to be the perpetrators.

It's worth noting this because the stereotype of mentally ill people committing horrific acts of violence is prevalent and reinforces stigma surrounding it, putting barriers up to people who might otherwise seek help. (Obviously, as Gus Deeds' situation shows, this isn't to say that no people with mental illness will commit crimes.)

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 teens and young adults live with one or more mental health conditions. Half of those will have developed it by the age of 14.

If we want to do more about this issue, we need people to feel safe and comfortable asking for help. The answer isn't to lock people away, but to try to intervene in conditions that only get worse over time.

Working mental health education into school curricula is one small step toward eliminating stigma.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

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