RMC Fencing Unveils Friendship Bench

RMC Fencing Unveils Friendship Bench

NCdt(IV) Madison Van Camp, 27448

On Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 the RMCC Varsity Fencing team unveiled their Friendship Bench.The Friendship Bench is a Canadian organization that encourages peer to peer conversation about mental health. The bench also connects students to mental health services in their area. The yellow bench is located outside the Old Gym; the home of RMC Fencing. The bright yellow bench is part of the Yellow is for Hello campaign.

At the Royal Military College, the bench will act as a reminder of the loss of OCdt Harrison Kelertas. OCdt Kelertas, Harry, was a member of the fencing who passed away in April 2016. The Fencing Team spent this year rebuilding and healing from this loss. Throughout the year, the team supported each other by listening and finding help when needed. The fencing team hopes that the bench will encourage other people to support each other and seek the help they need.

The co-founder of The Friendship Bench initiate, Sam Fiorella, lost his son to depression two years ago. His son had been silently fighting depression for 6 years. Fiorella hopes that the friendship benches will encourage others to talk about their struggles and hopefully save lives. Friendship Benches are aimed at helping secondary and post-secondary students however, not exclusively.

This is the first Friendship Bench to be installed in Kingston, though there are 33 across Canada. Each bench can be located at https://thefriendshipbench.org/. There are currently around 40 other locations trying to install benches. By identifying a bench nearby, you can they follow a link to mental health services in that area.

The Fencing Team used fundraising dollars to support the Friendship Bench effort. The team hopes that all staff and student will use the bench to help end the stigma of mental illness. We encourage you to ask anyone who is wearing a Yellow if for Hello t-shirts about this programme. The t-shirts were handed out at the unveiling ceremony to those that attended. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the Friendship Bench. Please use the bench as a reminder that simply saying hello can change someone’s day. Anyone who would like to donate to this cause can email s27448@rmc.ca for more information.