Author Brad Meltzer once wrote, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” These are words to live by for us all, but Zachery Dereniowski has taken this concept to the next level.
Zachery is a motivational speaker from Ontario, Canada, who is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney in Australia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zach reached what he described as “a personal breaking point.” He wanted to find a way to let others know they’re not alone when they struggle with issues like depression and anxiety, so he started a movement he calls the Mental Health Movement.
Hoping to normalize talking about mental health, he takes to the streets to offer up free hugs, an ear to listen, and a shoulder to lean on for anyone who needs it.
In one video, his sign says simply, “If you feel heartbroken or empty, hug me,” and it’s eye-opening to see how many total strangers approach him for comfort. Zach’s TikTok and Instagram audiences continue to grow as he expands his mission to touch people’s hearts, one hug at a time.
Watch Zach in action in the video below, and be sure to share this story to support his important mission.
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