On September 6, 2016, West Virginia University hosted the Send Silence Packing display in Woodburn Circle from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Active Minds is taking this display on tour this fall through the Midwest through California, and is being hosted by 13 other colleges.
Send Silence Packing is a nationally recognized traveling display of 1,100 donated backpacks of victims of suicide. This number represents the number of college students lost to suicide each year. The program’s focus is to bring awareness to the issue of suicide and the impact it has. It also provides students access to mental health resources and inspires action for suicide prevention.
Active Minds was created and founded by Alison Maimon when she was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania. She created Active Minds following the suicide of her older brother, Brian. Brian was also a college student who has been battling and concealing symptoms of depression and psychosis for years. He ended his life on March 24, 2000, as Alison was finishing up her freshman year at Penn. Alison felt that not enough people were talking about mental health issues even though many were affected, and so after unsuccessfully finding groups she could bring to her campus she created what was then known as Open Minds. In 2003, after three years of growth, a National Headquarters was established in Washington DC and the new non-profit organization was renamed Active Minds Inc., to reflect the progressive nature of the program.
The display itself is placed in a high-traffic area on campus (like our very own Woodburn Circle) giving a strong visual representation of the scope of the problem and how many victims there are every year from suicide. Active Minds Inc. continually collects backpacks and person stories in memory of loved ones impacted by suicide. They believe that by displaying backpacks with personal stories, Send Silence Packing puts a “face” to lives lost every year. They hope that this helps carry their message that preventing suicide is more than just improving statistics, but saving loved ones as well.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental illness contact the WELLWVU Carruth Center at (304) 293-4431 or online at http://well.wvu.edu/ccpps .
If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis or a psychological emergency, call the CCPPS office at 304-293-4431 to speak with an after-hours counselor. Note: this service is not designed to receive or respond to messages regarding scheduling or prescriptions.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, the hotlines below can also provide assistance:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (Press 1)
-Trevor Project Hotline (LGBTQ): 1-866-4UTREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
Written by: Samantha Thomas