Brooke Lacey, 22, began a campaign in 2020 to help uplift people’s spirits during the first COVID-19 wave, and her kind efforts have saved a stranger’s life.
Lacey has struggled with mental health issues her entire life, and she knew that people like her would have a difficult time during COVID-19 lockdowns. According to a study published in May 2021, the New Zealand population has “higher depression and anxiety compared to population norms.” According to the study, “younger people” and “those most at risk of COVID-19 reported worse mental health.”
Lacey printed 600 stickers with an encouraging message and posted them in Wellington, New Zealand, near places where people may commit suicide, such as trains, bridges, and large bodies of water. She also made a bumper sticker for her car with the same message.
The stickers spoke directly to those who may be contemplating taking their own life. “Please don’t take your life today,” the stickers read. “The world is so much better with you in it. More than you realize, stay.”
A driver’s bumper sticker has saved a stranger’s life.— Star919News (@StarFMNews919) February 22, 2022
After her own battle with depression 22-year-old university student Brooke Lacey was inspired to create a batch of 600 signs to inspire those battling mental illness.#StarFMNews919 @Star919FM pic.twitter.com/0SSHhUvyvK
Lacey parked her car in her university’s lot earlier this month, and when she returned to her car to leave, she noticed a note affixed to the windshield. She expected the worst, thinking it was someone complaining about how she parked or a ticket, but was surprised by the positive message.
“I left my house with a plan and asked for a sign, any sign, I was doing the right thing when I saw your car in the parking lot. Thank you,” the note read. At first, Lacey wasn’t sure what the person was referring to, but then she remembered her homemade bumper sticker.
“I had these made so long ago, put one on my car and forgot about them, until now,” she tweeted on her since deactivated account. “I am so glad whoever you are chose to stay today. You never know who needs this reminder.”
It’s unclear what the person’s “plan” was, but Lacey’s bumper sticker undoubtedly inspired them to choose life. Let’s hope the sticker also inspired them to seek professional help for whatever problems they are experiencing.
Lacey’s sticker, whether intentional or not, was effective because it followed one of the most important strategies people use at suicide hotlines. According to Science.org, it is critical to treat people who are contemplating suicide with “respect and empathy.”
Lacey’s story is a beautiful reminder of the impact that a simple, thoughtful gesture can have on another person’s life. Every day, people all around us are looking for a sign that will give them a reason to keep going.