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Lanterns of hope illuminate Algonquin

Booths were set up across campus Feb. 12-15 to raise awareness about suicide prevention, with students encouraged to design a lantern of hope which would be displayed for all to see.

Unfortunately, many students have a hard time dealing with stress or financial difficulties and many find themselves depressed to the point that they consider self-harm an option.

Jessica Dinovitzer, an early childhood education student said she has been down a dark road before. In the past, she tried taking her own life as a solution to the problems she had encountered.

“My attempt was not successful,” she said as she continued to decorate her own lantern of hope. “And I’m very glad it wasn’t.”

Recently, someone close to her wanted to take their own life but she stopped them from doing so. At first, they were mad at her but after some time they thanked her.

“I knew the thank you would come,” she said. “It was just a matter of time.”

Dinovitzer believes the lanterns of hope are a step in the right direction. A small gesture such as creating a lantern could be the difference between someone taking their life or deciding to live another day.

“That’s all you really need,” she said.

“Sure it takes time to heal, but you gotta keep going through the storm because at the end of the storm there’s always a rainbow.”

Jackie Tenute, the aboriginal counsellor at Student Support Services, was in charge of setting up the booths and giving students directions. She thinks the booths are not only a place to create lanterns of hope but also a safe place to talk about “suicidality” (the reality of suicide in our society).

“Right now suicide has a stigma attached to it, that you can’t talk about it,” she said. In Tenute’s opinion, the booths, which were set up in honour of suicide prevention week, creates a safer suicide community for all and she’s glad it does.

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