'Berg hosts Active Minds' Send Silence Packing® exhibit

News Image Award-winning public exhibit represents the number of students lost each year to suicide

 Wednesday, April 8, 2015 00:00 PM

Active Minds' Send Silence Packing® –a nationally recognized public education exhibit of 1,100 backpacks, representing the number of students who die by suicide every year – will be on display at Muhlenberg College on Thursday, April 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the Front Lawn. (In case of rain, the display will be housed in the Seegers Union Event Space.) This event, sponsored by Active Minds, the Counseling Center, Disability Services, the Division of Student Affairs, Residential Services and Student Activities, is free and open to the public.

Send Silence Packing aims to shed light on college student suicide and promote a healthy dialogue around mental health. To give a face to the lives lost, personal stories and testimonies written by families and friends accompany the backpacks. Passersby are invited to walk among the backpacks and read the stories of those who have died. In addition, representatives from Active Minds will hand out literature on mental health, suicide prevention and where to seek help.

"The display of 1,100 backpacks on campus will show the campus population that mental health is a big issue that should be addressed," said Emily Brundage '16, president of Muhlenberg's chapter of Active Minds. "We need to come together to talk about these issues. Hopefully, people will be able to walk away, aware of the resources available and how to use them. Mental health carries a stigma, and we need to get rid of that barrier."

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

“For over 10 years, Active Minds has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about mental health and combat the stigma surrounding it, but our work is never over,” said Malmon, now the executive director of Active Minds, Inc. “I’m particularly proud of Send Silence Packing, a powerful visual that really shows how serious of an issue this is on our college campuses."

The spring 2015 tour of Send Silence Packing travels to 11 additional locations throughout the Northeast. This program was unveiled on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2008, with a keynote speech by the honorable Patrick Kennedy. Since then, more than 300,000 people in 85 cities throughout the country have experienced Send Silence Packing. 

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year college located in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Muhlenberg offers programs in the liberal arts and sciences, along with selected pre-professional studies and a number of interdisciplinary majors.