OTTAWA — The parents and friends of a popular Carleton University student who took his own life, are using the tragedy to inspire a new initiative to help raise awareness about mental health.
Lucas Fiorella, 19, suffered from depression, but despite suffering in silence, he found the time to help other students through difficult times in their lives.
He took his own life in October, 2014.
The Friendship Bench initiative seeks to build and install yellow benches on secondary and post-secondary campuses across the country. The goal of the bench is to serve as a visual reminder that we all suffer from anxiety and depression in some form at school.
Each bench will feature information about campus and local mental health services.
Lucas’s father, Sam Fiorella, tells 1310News the purpose of the bench is not to replace existing services, but to provide easy access to them.
“We’ve discovered that there is a great deal of resources available to students, but they’re not asking for the help in many cases,” Fiorella said.
The initiative began on April 21 with the hopes of raising $25,000 in 50 days; over half of that has already been raised.
The first bench will be placed on the Carleton University campus, with hopes of four others in the near future. Fiorella said 13 other institutions have shown interest.
Click here for more information and how you can donate.