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Comedian and actor Sarah Silverman is no stranger to mental health issues. Known for her dark sense of humour, the 47-year-old star has opened up about her struggle with depression in the past. So when a would-be cyber troll lashed out at her on Twitter recently, she reacted in a way few would. Rather than ignoring, blocking or worse, getting into an insult match, she took the opportunity to reach out to the young man and offer compassion over aggression.


Silverman, however, took a page out of a different playbook.


And that was all it took, fewer than 280 characters from someone willing to listen and commiserate, for the conversation to change. In the next tweet, Jeremy opens up about his struggle.


Silverman then delicately broaches the subject of substance abuse, asking Jeremy if he uses heroin and wants to get clean, to which he replies that he only uses weed and prescription medication. She then suggests group therapy.


From insult to apology in six Tweets; no wonder the Internet is calling this a masterclass in emotional intelligence. But Silverman wasn’t after the apology.


Then the two exchanged a couple of light-hearted fart jokes (she’s a comedian after all) while Silverman took to Twitter to ask her community for help on Jeremy’s behalf. And with 12.4 M followers, it didn’t take her long to get a response.


The whole interaction has generated a lot of buzz. The reactions on Twitter alone speak to how welcome this display of vulnerability and compassion is in today’s political and cultural landscape.


Ultimately, this is just a nice story (remember those?) at a time when anger and rage dominate much of the discourse, especially on Twitter. If you feel like propagating the good intentions, you can donate to the Go Fund Me page Jeremy has started to help with the cost of his medical care.