The College of the Canyons Student Health & Wellness Center will host its annual ‘Shine A Light’ Suicide Prevention & Awareness Event designed to provide students and community members with access to important mental health resources, while bringing attention to the staggering amount of college students who die by suicide each year.
The two-day ‘Shine a Light’ event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, and Wednesday, May 11, in the COC Honor Grove, located on the college’s Valencia campus.
At the event staff from the college’s Student Health & Wellness Center and other local mental health agencies will be present to distribute information about suicide prevention/awareness, coping with depression and how to access other key mental health care resources, both on campus and in the community.
As a visual representation of the social issue of suicide, the Honor Grove will also be filled with 1,100 paper lanterns — each representing a college student that has lost their life to suicide in the United States during the past year.
At 5 p.m. on the evening of May 10, those lanterns will be illuminated and left on display through the night to provide students, college staff and community members with a thought-provoking visual representation.
On both days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., mental health providers will be outside at the campus’ flagpole to provide resources and support. Flashlights with the National Suicide Lifeline will also be distributed.
In addition, guest speaker Kevin Berthia, a suicide survivor and suicide prevention advocate, will deliver his keynote “The Impact of Listening” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, in the West PE gymnasium. Berthia’s presentation will focus on encouraging people to talk through their problems rather than think about ending their lives.
These events are made possible with grant funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).