A group of Good Samaritans took to the streets of Aberdeen to give hugs to strangers.
The big-hearted team were giving out free hugs to help people fight the seasonal blues.
Part of Pulse: Health Improvement, an Aberdeen-based health and wellbeing charity, the group were in St Nicholas Square holding up signs reading “Free Hugs”.
And the initiative was so successful they are gearing up for a repeat later this month.
Tracey Cass, Colin Cass and Kat Duncan offered cuddles to anyone who walked by to boost strangers’ mood and reduce their stress.
Pulse secretary Tracey, 35, said: “There were a few people who were stand-offish, but the majority of people we met were very open to the idea.
“We gave people of all ages, nationalities, races, and background free hugs.
“It was an amazing way to make people smile.”
Despite being made up of only three people, the team was able to embrace 100 strangers in just two hours.
Tracey said: “It was a great feeling.
“It was such a positive, enjoyable and emotional experience, not only for the volunteers, but for the public.
“We had people who told us that they didn’t think they needed a hug but when they got one, it actually released this wave of emotions from them.
“The one thing I noticed from the members of the public, was those who didn’t want a hug or just walked by, they did smile – which is a positive too.
“We’ve made a difference to these people regardless.”
She said she hoped the scheme would raise the profile of mental health, and the seasonal depression the winter months tend to bring.
She added: “As a charity we are always interested in teaching the public about various health-related issues.
“Each month we focus on one of these issues and I thought for December we could focus on mental health awareness.
“I think it’s a good month to reflect on emotional health – this time of year we tend to see a spike in depression and anxiety.
“Although it’s always there year round, I think this time of year people tend to suffer more.
“There is a lot of stigma around the topic and it can affect anyone.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
The Torry resident was inspired after seeing a similar initiative while walking through Glasgow’s city centre.
She said: “I saw them giving out free hugs and I was going through a tough time – it was so beneficial.
“It really helped me feel better and I didn’t think something so simple could do that.
“It was amazing how something as small and simple as a free hug could change your mood.”
The secretary for the charity said she hopes this will not be the last time they take to the streets to bring strangers a boost of positivity.
She said: “We were so pleased with how it went that we want to make this a regular thing.
“Maybe a couple of times a year – and we’re already planning on doing it again this month with more of our team members.
“It was a positive, enjoyable, emotional experience and I can’t wait to do it again.”
The charity offers tips and advice on its Facebook page and keeps people up to date with contacts for various health organisations.