Chakma: Be mindful of help in time of grief

Western President Amit Chakma issued the following statement today regarding the deaths of Cara Ellen Soules Farquharson, 19, a Nursing student, who died Thursday, Nov. 9, and Brandon Joseph Papp, 21, a Faculty of Science student, who died Sunday, Nov. 19:

The sudden deaths of two Western students this month have been terrible shocks to our campus community and I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, fellow classmates, faculty and staff members who knew Cara and Brandon personally.

Western recognizes that the impact of such tragedies can be profound and far-reaching, affecting the lives of many. Coping with loss of life is never easy, and the difficulty is only magnified when the loss is sudden and premature. Grieving can be further complicated by other worries related to health, relationships, finance and employment matters, or the added pressures of academic study that accompany this busy time of year.

Western has supports in place to aid students, faculty and staff in their efforts to manage stress and maintain their mental health and well-being. This includes a host of on-campus resources for which information can be found online at, as well as off-campus supports, such as the Good2Talk helpline — 1-866-925-5454; – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CMHA Crisis Counselling is also available from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday at Student Health Services, University Community Centre (UCC) 11.

And for faculty and staff, in particular, another helpful resource is the Employee Assistance Program which includes a 24/7 helpline at 1-877 433-0701 in addition to access to personal counselling. For more information, see

As our campus community joins families and friends in mourning the tragic loss of these two young lives, I encourage everyone to be mindful of the resources available to help ourselves – as well as our friends, classmates and colleagues – through this time of grief.


Amit Chakma
President & Vice-Chancellor