Book Sam Fiorella to Speak at Your Secondary or Post-Secondary Institution
Sam Fiorella is one of the founders of the Lucas Fiorella Friendship Bench , which was created in memory of his son, a 2nd-year Canadian university student who took his own life after silently battling with depression.
Despite his silent suffering, Lucas dedicated himself to reaching out to fellow students whom he believed were also suffering. In fact, a dozen students have reported “being alive today” because of Lucas’s unsolicited intervention.
“It started with him saying ‘hello’ out of the blue,” reported many of his friends. It’s in that spirit that the Friendship Bench was created and it’s what inspired Sam Fiorella to open up and share his story publicly.
“We didn’t realize our son was struggling with depression until after learning of his death by suicide. We were further stunned to learn about the rise in mental health-related issues among students and the dramatic rise in suicides among young adults,” states Sam Fiorella. “We were honest in sharing the cause of his death, which was received with both shock and gratitude.
“Shock from those who were surprised by our willingness to share the cause of his death, which most considered a taboo subject, and gratitude from parents and students who were inspired to talk to their loved ones after hearing the news. Many of them discovered that depression was rampant in their families and had, until then, been suffered in silence.”
The lives saved by Lucas’s selfless outreach and the positive public discourse created by the Fiorellas sharing their story inspired Sam to begin advocating for stronger awareness of mental health issues among students.
Using his experience as an author, professor, and professional public speaker, Sam is now focused on telling his story to raise awareness of the stressors created in schools, highlighting methods for prevention, and encouraging greater dialogue in order to remove the stigma associated with mental health.
Through his work on school campuses with mental health professionals and volunteers, writing about depression and mental health awareness, sitting on various mental health or suicide prevention boards, and engaging students directly, Sam has become a formidable advocate for student mental health education and support.
To learn more about Sam Fiorella and his experience as a public speaker, visit www.samfiorella.com
Want Sam Fiorella to speak to your student body or association? Please fill in the form to the right.
Why Talk About Mental Health In Schools?
A 2013 study conducted by the Canadian Organization of University and College Health reported that almost 90 percent of 30,000 Canadian students surveyed felt “overwhelmed by everything they had to do in the past year.”
Fifty percent reported feelings of hopelessness and 63 percent reported feeling “very lonely.” So it’s no surprise that 9.5 percent of students claimed they had seriously considered suicide. That number is rising at an alarming rate.
Dr. Su-Ting Teo, the director of student health and wellness at Toronto’s Ryerson University, told the Globe and Mail that students are becoming increasingly stressed because of relationships, academics, finances or changes associated with living away from home. More alarming is the fact that a large number of students (55 percent) are feeling overwhelmed by three or more of these stressors.
The fact that students, their parents, and the general public have long associated a stigma with mental health is further cause for concern because the lack of conversation and education around the subject means students are suffering in silence, with deadly consequences.
We must remove the stigma in order to facilitate peer-to-peer, parent-to-child, and student-to-faculty conversations about mental health in schools. Education and awareness are key.
To help with this, book Sam to speak at your school – submit your details below.