On March 25, representativesfrom the Fanshawe communitystarted a conversation about a verydifficult but important topic: youthand suicide.The roundtable discussion wasled by Fanshawe Student UnionPresident Zack Dodge, The Jack Project founder Eric Windeler,graphic design student Kaylie Dyck and counsellor Anita O’Keefe fromFanshawe’s Counselling andAccessibility Services. The eventwas co-sponsored by the FSU andfaculty union Local 110.The discussion started off with avideo featuring Windeler talkingabout his son, Jack, for whom TheJack Project is named. Jack was just finishing up his first year atQueen’s University in Kingston in2010 when he committed suicide.Jack was 18 years old, and waslikely severely depressed, Windeler said in the video, but he didn’treach out for help.“Mental health problems canseem invisible, but they are real, asreal and as powerful as cancer or heart disease. And the symptomsare also real and beyond the controlof the sufferer, just like the symp-toms of any physical illness,”Windeler says in the video. “Sadly,mental health problems are alsovery common; they touch almostevery family. In fact, likely youknow someone who is sufferingright now, and quite possibly, youand that someone never talk aboutit because of the stigma, which issomething we have to eliminate.”According to the video, one outof four people between the ages of 15 and 24 deals with mental healthissues, and many don’t know howto reach out. In fact, two-thirds of people who are struggling never getthe help they need.“By learning and talking – really,really talking – we can eliminatethe stigma around mental health problems and bring the issue outfrom the shadows and into the openand start making a real difference,”Windeler continues in the video.“My son’s legacy can be one of helping others find the help he didnot know about and could not reachout for.”The Jack Project aims to spreadawareness about mental healthissues and open a discussion acrossCanada, breaking the stigma of mental health and suicide. The Jack Project has held walks, marathonsand bike rides across the country toraise money for Kids Help Phone.The Project has made an invest-ment into the live chat feature of the Kids Help Phone website, sothat young people who need helpcan reach out over the Internet.After the video, student KaylieDyck provided the student perspec-tive on mental health and suicide,reading a story on behalf of a friendwhose close friend committed sui-cide at a young age. “You have to be there for (friends dealing withmental health issues),” Dyck said.One resource Fanshawe studentscan to turn to for help isCounselling and AccessibilityServices on campus. In the lastsemester, counsellors completed 40suicide risk assessments with stu-dents. In cases where a suicide risk assessment is made, “that counsel-lor is very, very concerned aboutthat student committing suicide,”explained counsellor AnitaO’Keefe. “There were also manystudents who discussed their feel-ings of depression, anxiety, feel-ings of being overwhelmed, and wecame up with a plan, a strategy (for each of them).” Students atFanshawe who are dealing withthese feelings are far from alone,and can turn to on-campus coun-selling services for help.Appointments are free and confi-dential, and are also available on anemergency basis.Windeler said he wanted theaudience members to walk awayfrom the discussion with twoimportant things in mind. The firstis that a distinct, prolonged changein a friend’s behaviour can be a realwarning sign of distress.“Everybody can have a bad day,everyone can fail a test and be upsetand get pissed off,” Windeler said.“But if you notice a prolongedchange in behaviour in someoneyou know and it feels wrong inyour gut, it just doesn’t seem likethem, that is most likely some signof some sort of distress.” If you donotice a problem, the second thingto remember is to do three things:
if your friend is consideringself-harm or suicide.
themto get the help they need, and
with them until you can get them toa trusted adult such as a counsellor,or to a hospital if it is an emergencysituation.At the end of the event, FSU andLocal 110 presented the Jack Project with a cheque for $1,000.For more information and for resources, go to thejackproject.org.For help on campus, go toCounselling and AccessibilityServices in F2010 or call 519-452-4282. You can also get help onlineat icopeu.com/fanshawe.
Some warning signs or signals that afriend may need help:
Recurring suicidal thoughts dreamsor fantasies
Showing signs of sadness and hope-lessness
Loss of interest in usual activities
Loss of energy
Changes in appetite or weight
Changes in behaviour
Change in sleep patterns
Negative comments about them-selves
In most cities in Ontario, it’scommon for garbage bins and blue bins to have a buddy standing outon the street with them at the endof the week: the green bin. Londonis currently an exception. But theCity of London conducted a GreenBin Pilot Project last year that maygive green bins the green light.The pilot project ran fromOctober 2011 to October 2012.Approximately 760 homes weregiven green bins. During the sum-mer months, separated organicsalong with garbage and recyclingwere collected on a weekly basis;in the winter it was reduced to biweekly collection.“We tried to pick a communitythat was representative of a cross-section of London, so a variety of housing types and age groups, andwe’ve found out that we got prettytypical numbers of what youexpect for most places in Ontario.We found that about 50 to 60 per cent of the people were actively participating in the program,” saidWesley Abbott, division manager of solid waste management for theCity of London.The results from the pilot projectwill be officially presented tocouncil in May, although Abbottsaid the City is already aware of their preliminary findings. “It’s been considered and discussed for a period of time, and it’s a difficultchoice for the elected officials, because when you have a programthat only 50 to 60 per cent of the people are going to participate in, asignificant dollar impact to it, andthe fact that we have a gas collec-tion system … there are sometrade-offs there.”The gas collection systemAbbott is referring to is at our land-fill site. When garbage decompos-es in a landfill site, the food wastethat decomposes creates landfillgas, which contains methane. Our gas collection system capturesover half of the gas. Diverting thefood garbage, however, is a better option for the environment.“So out of the households that participated, you probably getabout 200 to 300 kilograms of organic materials a year to divert… you end up diverting about 12to 15 per cent of all the wastestream,” he said.The pilot project also discoveredwhat was being placed in the bins,and yielded very positive results.“We got very clean material, wedid some audits of the green bins – we found that 97 per cent of thestuff was stuff we wanted, whichwas food waste or non-recyclable paper, and about three per centwere contaminants … people use plastic bags and things like that,”said Abbott.Although it seems late for London to be considering a green bin program, Abbott said that it’snever been as urgent an issue for London as it has been for other cities across Ontario.“Other municipalities werequick to adopt a green bin program because they were running out of landfill space; for example, York and Toronto didn’t have a landfillsite for a period of time and wereshipping garbage to Michigan.They were looking at any way pos-sible to divert waste. In London wehave a well-run, safe landfill siteand weren’t shipping our garbageto the States, so we have more timeto think of what is the best way togo.”Environmentally consciousLondoners don’t have to wait for green bins to start diverting wastefrom local landfills – check out theCity of London’s guide to com- posting at home at tinyurl.com/ldn-compost.
Volume 45 Issue No. 26 April 1, 2013 www.fsu.ca/interrobang/
Will green bins get agreen light?
CREDIT: ERIKA FAUST
(From left) Eric Windeler, Anita O’Keefe, Zack Dodge and Kaylie Dyck alloffered different perspectives on youth and mental health at the round-table discussion on March 25.
Event shines spotlight on students’ mental health