Centennial College helps paint Canada yellow for student mental health with new Friendship Bench

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Centennial College has joined a national program to paint Canada yellow for student mental health. The Toronto college is working with the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench and has launched the #YellowIsForHello mental health awareness program on campus with the unveiling of one of the organization's iconic yellow benches today.

With suicide now the second-leading cause of death among Canadians aged 15 to 34, developing a culture of openness around student mental health has never been more important. The #YellowIsForHello program will help Centennial College continue to foster an environment where students are free to talk and learn about mental health. That in turn increases awareness, reduces stigma, and will see more students who may be suffering in silence get the help they need before it's too late. 

"We're delighted to include Centennial College among the 11 Canadian schools unveiling a Friendship Bench this fall," said Sam Fiorella, Managing Director of the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench. "By joining the #YellowIsForHello program, the college is making a powerful commitment to students that says we care about you, we care about your mental health."

"Raising awareness of the crisis in student mental health and having conversations about it is the first step towards helping people overcome their challenges," said Ann Buller, President of Centennial College. "Too many young people have become overwhelmed by today's stresses and don't know where to turn to for help. We want to ensure they know the college has resources to help."

"As a student counsellor, I see lots of students in my office who admit having trouble managing the responsibilities of school, family, work and relationships," said Centennial's Steven Ruhinda. "Fortunately, colleges are devoting more resources – time being a major one – to counsel students to cope with today's demands. Our Friendship Bench is a visual reminder that help is available on campus."

About The Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench
The mandate of the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench is to connect students dealing with mental health issues, and who are unsure or unable to ask for help, with campus resources and other students willing to help or listen. The yellow benches being installed on high school and university campuses across Canada serve as a visual reminder of the importance of mental health awareness and conversations among students. Each bench features a URL where students can quickly access on-campus and local mental health and suicide-prevention services. Connect with The Friendship Bench on social media:

Thefriendshipbench.org 
Twitter.com/yellowis4hello 
Facebook.com/thefriendshipbench

About Centennial College
Established in 1966, Centennial College is Ontario's first public college primarily serving the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area through four campuses. It has a record of exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building. With enrolments of 20,000 full-time students and 20,000 part-time learners, Centennial is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada. It offers more than 250 diploma, certificate and degree programs in business, media, community and consumer services, engineering technology, health care and transportation.

SOURCE Centennial College

For further information: For media inquiries and high-res images please contact: Scott Hosmer, Marketing and Communications Officer, Centennial College, School of Communications, Media, Arts & Design, 416-289-5000 ext. 8506; shosmer@centennialcollege.ca; Alison King, Communications Director, The Friendship Bench, 905-484-3261; alisonk@thefriendshipbench.org

RELATED LINKS
http://www.centennialcollege.ca

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