She was too depressed to do the simplest chore. Then her friends showed up in a big way.

People who don’t struggle with depression can sometimes feel at a loss for how to help loved ones who do.

If you’ve never fallen into a mental hole you couldn't climb out of, it’s hard to understand how depression can be so debilitating. And when you're peering down at a loved one at the bottom of that hole, it’s hard to know how to help them out.

You can try to coach them on how to climb, but you don't understand how slippery the walls are. You can try to offer them a rope, but you don't realize that their muscles are too spent to grab it and hold on.


How do you help someone who is stuck?

While there are no universal right answers, this story demonstrates just one powerful way these friends showed up for their struggling pal.

Sheila O’Malley spiraled into a deep depression the year her dad died. She had moved into a new apartment but found herself unable to unpack for months. She felt ashamed at her inability to do something so straightforward, but depression does that — it makes basic things feel insurmountable, then makes you feel bad about not surmounting them.

O'Malley shared on Twitter that her friend David checked in with her and offered words of support. But he knew she needed more than that. So he did something bold.

He contacted a bunch of O'Malley's friends and organized an unpacking party — unbeknownst to her.

Ten friends showed up, food in hand, and ignored her protesting that her apartment wasn't ready for visitors.

"They unpacked my boxes. They put away my 1,500 books. They hung pictures for me ... By the end of the night, my apartment was all set up," O'Malley wrote.

Sometimes showing up for a friend means simply doing what needs to be done without fuss or fanfare.

O'Malley explained that she had been unable to do even the simplest things. But her friends didn't judge. "They were like superheroes sweeping in," she said. They showed up ready to do what needed to be done. And they didn't let her get in the way of that important work.

"I was overwhelmed at the sight of all of my friends turning themselves into Santa's workshop," O'Malley wrote. "On my behalf. With out asking me. They just showed up and barged in. I was embarrassed for like 10 minutes but they were all so practical and bossy I had no choice but to let that go."

"Listen, baby, what we did today was a barn-raising."

This is what a supportive community looks like.

That's what it was — a beautiful modern version of a community coming together to serve the needs of one of its own. A group easing the burden of an individual. A line of friends forming a human chain to grab hold of the friend at the bottom of a hole and attempt to pull her up.

By providing practical help, her friends also provided emotional support.

Many people who are struggling with depression won't ask for help because they're ashamed. Often they won't accept help even if it's offered sincerely, because they feel unworthy. But O'Malley's friends showed up anyway. And by showing up physically, they supported her emotionally — not by taking away her grief, but by removing some of the practical burdens that made it harder to manage emotionally.

O'Malley pointed out that it could have gone another way. She could have felt offended or hurt. But even if she had, she'd have known her friends cared about her enough to rally together and let her know she wasn't alone.

"These are the kinds of friends I have," she wrote. "Be that kind of friend to others."

An excellent reminder to us all of what love in action can look like.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."