The Daily Journal has been blessed to have quality photography featured on its pages over the years, and current photo editor Tiffany Blanchette is building on that proud tradition.

In the most recent Monday edition, Blanchette’s work was prominently displayed on pages A1 and A3, respectively.

The A1 photos illustrated the story of Manteno resident Jake Smith, who walked 24 miles Sunday to shed light on the problem of suicide as part of National Suicide Awareness Month. The A3 photos showed local children getting their hair styled by some gracious volunteers as part of the fifth annual Braid-A-Thon in Kankakee.

In addition to being fine work that appeared in the same edition, the photos also shared another link.

The issue of mental illness and suicide was sadly ignored, or at least minimized, for so many years in the past. The fact that people like Smith are courageous enough to bring the problem to the forefront is timely and refreshing. We applaud him and others who have made this vital effort. If it preserves even one life, it will be well worthwhile.

A prevailing factor behind suicide is often a lack of self esteem among those who struggle with mental illness. Low self esteem can be driven by criticism of one’s appearance.

But a fresh new hairdo can go a long way in establishing greater confidence, whether it be among children or adults.

The more than 25 stylists and barbers who volunteered their time last Saturday did more than just trim hair. They also provided some self esteem. We also applaud them for their contributions.

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