Some things can’t be mentioned enough times. And mental illness among our children and young people is definitely such a thing. We should never accept a society where young people feel so depressed that they no longer want to live. In a post on Facebook that has been shared thousands of times recently, Martin Qviström of Stockhom, Sweden wrote about an event that left a deep impression on him. Martin describes how he was riding his bike across a bridge when he saw a young woman about to jump. Luckily, Martin had the presence of mind to intervene—and amazingly, he successfully grabbed the woman a split second after she jumped. This time it ended well and the young woman’s life was spared, thanks to Martin. But his post shows why we need to do more for people with mental illness and why this issue can’t be emphasized enough.
Martin Qviström, 40, was recently out riding his bike across the West Bridge in Stockholm, Sweden when suddenly, he saw a girl around 16-20 years old. She had climbed over the fence and protecting cables and was ready to jump.
“I rode as fast as I could toward her and managed to say, ‘What are you doing?’ And she replied, ‘I’m going to jump!” And then, she let go of the railing and jumped.” Martin wrote.
Martin threw himself against the fence and had just enough time to grab his hands around her waist. With all his strength, Martin managed to pull the girl up toward him, so that he held her tightly with only the fence between them. Then, with a calm voice, Martin began telling the young woman a story about his brother, who committed suicide 23 years earlier.
Martin explained how much losing his brother affected him, and how he wouldn’t let the young woman’s loved ones go through the same experience he did.
While Martin was talking, the girl repeated again and again, “I want to die.”
“‘You’re not going to die today,’ I replied, and held her tighter,” Martin wrote.
A cyclist soon came on the scene and helped Martin hold the young woman until the police arrived.
“It took four minutes for the police to come. Meanwhile, I talked with the girl constantly. She told me that her parents hate her, that she’s bi-polar, and that she’s been committed in a mental hospital. I told her that everything was going to get better—that in time, she’ll find happiness and joy in life.”
With the help of the police, Martin succeeded in finally bringing the young woman to safety from the other side of the fence.
“It was a shocking experience for me. Holding this young woman in my arms, knowing that my arms around her waist were all that separated her from an untimely death. It was a scary thought. If I had arrived one second later, I couldn’t have done it. I would’ve seen her fall down into the depths. It’s a horrible thought.”
Since Martin posted his experience on Facebook, it’s spread like wildfire, with thousands of people sharing it on Facebook and multiple Swedish and Norwegian media outlets picking up the story. Martin hopes that more people will open their eyes to mental health issues and that we’ll all take more responsibility in helping those who are mentally ill.
“My heart and soul were wounded holding this young woman in my arms, feeling her longing for death, and being unable to help her more. I’d like to meet her again and be her best friend and show her everything amazing the world has to offer.”
“Life is a gift. I want to help her to understand. We really need to get better at taking care of each other. Mental illness is everywhere and communities need to take more responsibility in helping people. Take care of each other. Be nice to each other.”
We agree, and if you do too, please share Martin’s message with your friends!
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