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Laurier event marks mental health grant and features performance focused on suicide prevention
Nov 13/12| For Immediate Release
Adrienne Luft, Mental Health Student Support Team Leader
Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications & Public Affairs
WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a $40,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund. Bell will present the grant at a kick-off event focused on reducing mental health stigma. The event, to be held at 3 p.m. Nov. 14 at Wilf’s Pub on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, will feature a performance of the suicide-prevention play, The Gospel According to Josh by New York playwright Josh Rivedal. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion on suicide prevention.
The performance represents the first of many peer initiatives on campus organized by the Mental Health Student Support Team. The team is led by Adrienne Luft, who was appointed in September as Laurier’s mental health student support team leader, making Laurier one of only three Canadian universities with such a role.
Luft will lead Laurier’s institutional mental health strategy and implement the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant, which will support a mental health and awareness-training program for faculty, staff and students to help them identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness. The grant will also go toward expanding the resource library.
“We are so thankful to Bell for supporting peer initiatives at Laurier,” said Luft. “We hope that these events help students to feel safer reaching out when they are having a difficult time.”
One of the group’s key messages is that many students experience challenging times connected to their mental well-being, and that rather than being shameful, seeking help is courageous.
"Bell is extremely pleased to lend our support to Wilfrid Laurier University and the 59 other community organizations across the country that are part of the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund this year," said Mary Deacon, chair of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative. "These groups are truly making a difference at the grassroots level. We're very proud to be helping them provide much-needed resources to enhance mental health services and programs for those affected by mental illness."
Laurier will also join a U.S.-based research study aimed at gaining a better understanding of mental health on university campuses.
The Gospel According to Josh is a dark comedy featuring a small-town boy who moves to Hollywood and deals with his father’s suicide. The play is now being used as a youth suicide prevention program that provides a forum to make it acceptable and comfortable to talk about mental illness. www.thegospelaccordingtojosh.com
The Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative is a multi-year charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada through the Bell Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk
The Nov. 14 event is free and open to the public.