Members of the media and the public are invited to the unveiling of a Friendship Bench at Champlain College Saint-Lambert on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The bright yellow bench will serve as a safe space for students to connect with their peers and as a permanent visual reminder of the importance of speaking openly about mental health issues.
The bench is part of the #YellowIsForHello campaign created by the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench, a national non-profit based in Oakville, Ontario. The organization is installing benches at three Canadian schools and launching associated programming during Mental Health Week this year in an effort to connect Canadian students in need of help with existing mental health resources, both on- and off-campus.
Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among Canadians aged 15–34, according to statistics provided by the University of Guelph. Those statistics have a deeply personal meaning for Friendship Bench co-founder Sam Fiorella, whose son Lucas died by suicide in 2014. “Losing Lucas opened our eyes to the epidemic of mental health issues among students and the need to raise awareness and erase stigma”, said Fiorella. “We’re proud to be helping Champlain College do just that, by encouraging personal connections and conversations about mental health as well as connecting students to the many support services offered here on campus. I can’t think of a better way to mark Mental Health Week 2016 than to celebrate the installation of a new Friendship bench and honour the College’s commitment to student wellness.”
“Champlain College is proud to partner with the Champlain Student Association and the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench to install this permanent reminder that will highlight the important resources available to students at the College” mentioned Don Shewan, Campus Director at Champlain College Saint-Lambert.
Friendship Bench Unveiling Ceremony Details
When: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm
Where: Champlain College Saint-Lambert, 900 Riverside Drive, Saint-Lambert, Que. – Green space behind the college cafeteria
Who: Don Shewan, Campus Director, Champlain College
Sam Fiorella, Co-Founder, The Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench
Vinchenzo James, Student and Wanita Jones, Counsellor, Student Services
For media inquiries please contact:
Champlain College Saint-Lambert