The Northern Michigan University chapter of Active Minds, a national mental health advocacy organization, is bringing a touring exhibit titled “Send Silence Packing” to campus Monday, Sept. 30. The exhibit features 1,100 backpacks to represent the approximate number of undergraduate students in the country who commit suicide each year. It will be featured on the academic mall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Active Minds will have trained professionals on site to provide information about the warning signs of suicide, guidance for friends of those who may be suffering, and resources for those seeking help and distribute prevantative materials and resources.
"There is a stigma surrounding mental illness and it's difficult for many people to talk about," said Julie Rochester, professor and Active Minds chapter adviser. "The NMU student organization chose to bring the exhibit here because of its impactful message. 'Send Silence Packing' includes personal stories from individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide. That's a powerful way to raise awareness. The donation of stories and backpacks also serve as a meaningful outlet for survivors to channel their grief."
Sadie Knill and Chloe Wilkinson, NMU students and co-presidents of the NMU Chapter of Active Minds, were instrumental in bringing the exhibit to campus.