Send Silence Packing, an acclaimed exhibit that has traveled the country to end the silence that surrounds mental illness and suicide is scheduled for display at Modesto Junior College on Thursday, April 4, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the East Campus Quad, 435 College Ave., Modesto. The public is invited to view the free exhibit at MJC and campus parking in student lots is free on East Campus during the exhibit hours.
The emotionally powerful, all-day display 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 attached to them. Many of the backpacks were donated by families who lost a student to suicide.
Send Silence Packing has visited college campuses for more than a decade and is presented by Active Minds, the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students. 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.
“The stigma that surrounds mental illness is the reason why many students don’t seek the help they need,” says Malmon, now the 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.”
Since its inaugural display on the National Mall in Washington, DC in 2008, Send Silence Packing has reached approximately 946,710 visitors in over 200 cities with messages of hope and help. Evaluation data attests to the exhibit’s impact – most visitors leave wanting to learn more about mental health; the majority tell three or more people about the exhibit; and many reach out to a friend in need or seek help for themselves as a result of experiencing it.
More information about Send Silence Packing is available at activeminds.org/sendsilencepacking. Anyone thinking about suicide or worried about a friend in crisis, is urged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text BRAVE to the Crisis Text Line at (741-741). For resources on how to be a friend to someone who is struggling with a mental health issue, visit activeminds.org/beafriend.