Send Silence Packing first came to Clinton County in 2018 and had over 1,000 people, young and old alike, experiencing the exhibit. On its return trip to the county Monday, at least 1,500 attended the day long event in downtown Frankfort.
Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition Executive Director Lorra Archibald says there were two main differences.
“This year, we’re doing it at Prairie Creek Park,” said Archibald. “We’re able to spread it more plus we have the sidewalks which was nice. The other difference is the inter-active display which is something they didn’t have the first time.”
Send Silence Packing was first unveiled in 2008 on the Washington Mall in Washington D.C. Ninety-five percent of the respondents to a survey rated the exhibit as powerful, and 97 percent rated it as educational. The exhibit has been on the road for more than 10 years, has been displayed over 200 times throughout the country, and has reached a million visitors with messages of hope and help.
Guests are invited to explore the backpacks, read the messages of those who have died by suicide, as well as the display tents that have the following message, “you are not alone, help is available, and we each play a role in changing the culture around mental health.”
Kelsey Pacetti is a Send Silence Packing Display Coordinator with Active Minds National, which is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting mental promotion and education for the student.
“They want to get involved and a lot of them ask ‘how can I help a friend or what should I do'” said Pacetti. “Young adults have been very excited for the mental health movement. It warms my heart to talk with them and listen to their stories.”
Pacetti said they also introduce the young adults to a three step tool called “Validate, Appreciate, Refer which is an everyday conversational tool put out by Active Minds.
Archibald said they also had an exhibit in the tour which talks about three students from Clinton County who all committed suicide, She said there was one other thing.
“This is the only community exhibit that Send Silence Packing is doing this year,” said Archibald. “Usually, it’s done on college campuses and college students walk through the display. Clinton County is the only one done in a community setting.”