In an effort to shed light on the tragedy of college student suicide, on September 22, a public education program known as Send Silence Packing brought a display of 1,100 donated backpacks to CSULB to graphically represent the number of college students lost to suicide each year.
Send Silence Packing was developed by Active Minds, Inc., one of the leading voices for college student mental health in the United States. The national organization collects backpacks and personal stories in memory of loved ones lost to suicide and travels the country to display the backpacks on college campuses. The display of backpacks and personal stories puts a ‘face’ on the lives lost to suicide and provides opportunities for dialogue about a heavily stigmatized topic. Send Silence Packing carries the message that preventing suicide is not just about lowering statistics, but it’s also about saving the lives of students, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends across the nation.
This was the first time the Send Silence Packing program visited California, and CSULB was one of only eight California campuses to host it. Sponsors of the CSULB display included Active Minds at CSULB; Project OCEAN (On Campus Emergency Assistance Network); the Associated Students, Inc.; Beach Balance; Counseling and Psychological Services; Disabled Student Services, the Student Services Division and the Long Beach National Alliance on Mental Illness.
"Few people realize that suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses and is erasing the future of so many of our peers,” said Rachelle Ang, case worker in Disabled Student Services and Counseling and Psychological Services. “We are so honored to have been chosen to host Send Silence Packing. The display provided a powerful opportunity to let students know that if they are depressed or suicidal they are not alone and there is help. Together we can save lives.”
At the event, both Active Minds and Project OCEAN were on hand to pass out information about mental health, student suicide and where to go to seek help.
For more information about Send Silence Packing and its spring tour, visit www.sendsilencepacking.org.