A student hairdresser made a depressed teen smile again when she spent 13 hours fixing her matted hair.
Kayley Olsson, a student hairdresser in Waterloo, recounted on Facebook how a young girl came into a salon and told her she felt so worthless she couldn't even manage to brush her own hair.
The 16-year-old, who was due to have her school photo taken, asked her to shave her head instead.
Touched by the young girl's plight, the hairdresser refused to shave off her hair and instead spent 13 hours fixing it for her instead.
The 20-year-old explained the 16-year-old had been dealing with severe depression for years and felt so worthless that she couldn't even brush her own hair.
The hairdresser from Iowa, who attends cosmetology school at Capri Waterloo, said the girl's story broke her heart and she felt compelled to help her.
"She got to the point where she felt so down and so worthless she couldn't even brush her hair, she told me she only got up to use the restroom," she explained on Facebook.
"She starts back at school in a few weeks but she has her school pictures today. When she walked in she told us "just cut it all off I can't deal with the pain of combing it out", she called herself worthless for it.
"It honestly broke my heart and we tried everything we could to keep this child's hair for her! At the end of the day I want this to be a lesson to people."
Olsson said the incident was a reminder to everyone that even the young are affected by mental health issues.
"MENTAL HEALTH is a thing, it effects people all around the world and of all ages! PARENTS take it serious don't just push your kids off and tell them to get over something they legitimately can't.
She added that while it was the most challenging experience of her life it was worth it to see the teenager smile again.
"A CHILD should NEVER feel so worthless to not even want to brush their hair. After being here 8 hours yesterday and 5 hours today we finally made this beautiful girl smile and feel like she IS worth something!
"Her last words to me was "I will actually smile for my schools pictures today, you made me feel like me again".'
Olsson shared the heart-warming story with her Facebook followers on Tuesday, garnering more than 160,000 likes, 67,000 shares and more than 8,500 comments on the post.
Social media users praised Ollson for going to the effort to help the young woman who has not been indentified.
"You did a beautiful job. Most people who have taken the easy way and just cut her hair and told her stat (sic) fresh. But you took the time and invested time she needed to be invested in her for her to know she has beauty and value," said one follower.
11.3 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds have untreated depression, up from 8.7 per cent in 2005 Mail Online reports.