Date(s) - 10/10/2022
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The lawn of Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will look different from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 10 as scores of very special backpacks will be placed across the greenspace. The all-day awareness event, the first of its kind at SIU, is designed to help end the silence surrounding mental health issues and bring awareness to the issue of suicide.
One person loses their life to suicide every 11 minutes in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visitors to the “Send Silence Packing” display can walk among the backpacks, which represent the lives of some of those lost to suicide, view the attached photographs and read the stories provided by their families. It’s an immersive, up-close and personal display to raise awareness of the impact of suicide and connect people to helpful mental health information and resources, including those at SIU and the community.
In the event of inclement weather, the display will move to the Student Center.
Alison Malmon, executive director of Active Mind, founded the organization as a college freshman following the death of her brother, Brian, by suicide. Her goal was to help end the stigma, silence and shame surrounding mental health concerns that lead to suicide and thus help prevent it. Since the inaugural display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2008, more than 1 million visitors have viewed “Send Silence Packing.”
Mental health experts say that suicide can be prevented and help is available. Contact SIU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 618-453-5371 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday or 12:30-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling or texting 988. To learn more about the mental health services and suicide prevention provided by SIU through the Student Health Services, visit the website shc.siu.edu or contact Shelly Ridgeway, interim director of wellness and health promotion services and assistant director of Counseling and Psychological Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.