University community mourns second suicide victim in less than a week


Wilfred Laurier has lowered its flags to half mast as students across the campus mourn the loss of Jenna Lorente.
Lorente, a second-year kinesiology student at Wilfrid Laurier, passed away on April 8 while she was staying at home to study. Her funeral will take place at the Lynn-Stone Funeral Home in Elmvale from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 13, where the family has requested donations for the Canadian Mental Health Association of Midland for suicide prevention.
This was the second suicide in one week between Laurier and UW.
The name of the second-year suicide victim at UW on April 2 was not released at the request of the family.
The same day that UW student died by suicide, Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor of UW, sent out a campus wide email detailing the progress UW had made in its mental health initiative, as well as promising to continue this initiative to and beyond its original goals.
UW has suffered from a high rate of suicide, especially during exam season. According to a survey done by the American College Health Association National College Health (ASHA-NCHA) in spring 2011, just over one percent of student respondents across Canada said they had attempted suicide at some point over the previous year. The same survey included other worrying statistics such as just over six per cent of respondents have seriously considered suicide over the previous year, over half “felt overwhelming anxiety,” 45 per cent “felt things were hopeless,” and nearly nine out of 10 students “felt overwhelmed by all that they had to do.”
UW has responded with efforts to curb the mental health epidemic. March of last year, a report that made 36 recommendations for improving the mental health of students was made public. The report includes recommendations to increase the ratio of counselling staff to one counsellor for every 1,000 students, creating a working group to review stress-related issues around exam times, and to include mental health training as part of the orientation for new faculty members.
So far 26 of the 36 recommendations have either been implemented or started to be implemented, leaving lots more work to be done.
Counselling services are available at Needles Hall North on the second floor, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. In the event of a crisis, call the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Crisis Services at the toll free number 1-866-531-2600 or contact someone you trust.