A photo of a female police officer hugging a suicidal teenage father on a bridge in Memphis recently went viral.
A Memphis police officer responded immediately to a call last Thursday when they heard that a male was on the I-40 Mississippi River Bridge threatening to jump.
The Memphis Police Department made a statement on Facebook later that day with an update.
"Officer Shaw made [it to] the scene moments later and began building a rapport with the individual as he stood on the outside ledge of the bridge contemplating suicide. While the officers were talking to him, they found out that this individual was only 17 years old."
In her conversation with the teenager, Shaw connected to his pain and struggles.
"He explained how he is a new father and how life is stressful. Being a mother, Officer Shaw talked to him and understood his stress. Officer Shaw spoke to him for nearly 15 minutes and convinced him to hold on to her while she helped him to safety."
The rescue came at a tumultuous time for the police department as earlier in January a 29-year-old black man, Tyre Nichols, was severely beaten by five Memphis police. A few days later, Nichols passed away from his injuries.
Speaking of both incidents, the beating and the bridge rescue, the mayor of Memphis, Jim Strickland, made a statement.
"While we no doubt have a long way to go on the road to healing, hopefully through our actions, citizens will see we are working to be better and that we are heading down the right path."
The viral photo of Officer Shaw hugging the 17-year-old on the bridge had people giving their support.
"Awesome Officer Shaw it’s situations like that make me so proud to be a retired MPD Officer," says Allen Taylor in one comment. "In life you have your good and bad in everything but I choose to believe that there are more good people than bad. Officer Shaw may you continue to shine and to my MPD co-workers keep your heads up and be honorable and fair. May God bless and protect each and every one of you. My family in Blue also remember this: always exemplify your integrity."
According to Dr. Carl Fleisher, who specializes in adolescent and child psychiatry at UCLA Health, teenagers are more susceptible to suicidal ideation and attempts.
"Teenagers and young adults have the highest rates of suicide compared to other ages," says Fleisher. "The things that make them vulnerable are where they stand socially and where they stand developmentally. … They're not going to weigh risks and consequences or values in quite the same way that older folks will."