Send Silence Packing Making Return Trip to Frankfort on September 19

Clinton Central students look at some of the more than 1,000 backpacks that were at the Send Silence Packing exhibit.
Students show their respect to the backpacks during the Send Silence Packing tour at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

For more than a decade, Active Minds’ acclaimed Send Silence Packing exhibit has traveled the country to end the silence that surrounds mental health and suicide and connect visitors with resources for support and action.

The 2022 exhibit will be at Prairie Creek Park on September 19th, sponsored by Healthy Communities of Clinton County, the Buck Up Foundation, IU Health, and the City of Frankfort.

The all-day exhibit includes personal stories from individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide and is designed to raise awareness about the impact of suicide, connect individuals to mental health resources, and inspire action for suicide prevention. Passersby are invited to walk among the Send Silence Packing backpacks to see the photographs and read the stories. Many of the backpacks were donated by families who lost a loved one to suicide.

Since its inaugural display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2008, Send Silence Packing has reached over a million visitors and counting with messages of hope and help. Evaluation data attests to the exhibit’s impact – most visitors leave wanting to learn more about mental health and the majority tell three or more people about the exhibit and may reach out to a friend in need or seek help for themselves as a result of experiencing it.

Send Silence Packing first came to Clinton County in 2018 with over 1,000 people experiencing the display. “We are very excited to have this display return to our area, “ states HCCC Executive Director Lorra Archibald. “We know how important the subject of mental health is and any way we can reduce stigma and increase help seeking behaviors, we want to do that.”

This year, there will also be a new companion exhibit designed to complement the in-person program – Send Silence Packing: Behind the Backpacks. This virtual, immersive experience gives users an in-depth look at the impact of suicide through personal stories, stigma reduction techniques, and visual components such as videos, photos, and audio. Visitors to Send Silence Packing will have a chance to learn more about Behind the Backpacks and easily share this program with friends, family, and their communities.

“I founded Active Minds as a freshman in college following the death of my brother, Brian, by suicide, in order to end the stigma around mental health. Stigma is shame, shame causes silence, and silence hurts us all,” said Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds. “Send Silence Packing is a highly visible way to combat that stigma, increase openness, and inspire action for suicide prevention. Thank you, Healthy Communities of Clinton County, for bringing the 2022 exhibit to your community to help continue to spread awareness and inspire action around mental health and suicide prevention efforts.”

About Send Silence Packing®

● Send Silence Packing is an award-winning exhibit that travels the country to end the silence that surrounds mental health and suicide.

● The all-day exhibit is designed to inspire action for suicide prevention and connect people to mental health resources for support and tangible action steps.

● Send Silence Packing promotes dialogue around suicide and mental health. People are encouraged to seek out helpful resources for themselves, friends, or loved ones. Active Minds staff and volunteers are on hand at every display. Many referrals are made, and thousands of mental health resources are distributed at each location.

● Send Silence Packing was first unveiled in 2008 on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with a keynote speech by The Honorable Patrick Kennedy.

● 95% of survey respondents rate the exhibit as powerful, and 97% report it educational. Evaluations also show that many visitors reach out to a friend in need or seek help for themselves as a result of seeing the exhibit.

● Send Silence Packing has been on the road for more than 10 years, has been displayed over 200 times throughout the country, and has reached over a million visitors with messages of hope and help.

● Backpacks have been donated in honor of loved ones and Active Minds collects stories and backpacks to be included in the display year-round.

About College Student Mental Health

● Mental health issues are prevalent among college students.

○ 39% of college students experience a significant mental health issue.

○ 50% of cases of mental health issues begin by age 14; 75% begin by age 24.

○ Two thirds of students with anxiety or depression don’t seek treatment.

○ Suicide is the second leading cause of death among students.

○ For every person who dies by suicide, 280 people decide not to go through with a suicide attempt.

○ 67% of college students first tell a friend they are feeling suicidal before telling anyone else.

○ 1 in 5 adults has a diagnosable mental illness.

○ 50% of us will experience a mental health condition in our lifetime.

About Active Minds

● Active Minds is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting mental health promotion and education for student

● Active Minds was founded in 2003 by Alison Malmon, then a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, after tragically losing her only sibling, her 22-year-old brother Brian Malmon, to suicide.

● Active Minds is powered by over 600 chapters on campuses nationwide, including high schools, colleges and universities, and community colleges and technical schools.

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