Send Silence Packing is a nationally recognized traveling exhibition of 1,100 donated backpacks which represent the number of college students lost to suicide each year. Sponsored by the Active Minds Inc. national office, the program is designed to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide, connect students to needed mental health resources, and inspire action for suicide prevention. Selected as the kick-off University for Active Minds’ Fall 2014 Southeastern Tour, George Mason University will host this all-day display on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at the JC North Plaza. The visual representation of 1,100 backpacks helps onlookers understand the prevalence of suicide on college campuses and educates regarding programs Mason has in place to support students in crisis. After visiting Mason, the tour will drive to other Universities in Virginia, Alabama, Texas, and Florida.
Active Minds Inc. has collected and continues to collect backpacks and personal stories in memory or in honor of loved ones impacted by suicide. By displaying backpacks with personal stories, Send Silence Packing puts a “face” to lives lost to suicide and carries the message that preventing suicide is not just about improving statistics, but also about saving the lives of daughters, sons, brothers, sisters and friends across the nation. Mason’s Active Minds student chapter will provide a backpack representing a student who was lost to suicide while attending Mason a few years ago. These contributions serve as a meaningful outlet for survivors’ grief as well as a powerful way to raise awareness and work towards suicide prevention.
Since the inaugural display in 2008 on the National Mall in Washington, DC, Send Silence Packing has traveled to more than 70 cities in states across the country. Send Silence Packing is a part of a larger University initiative, Mason CARES (Campus Awareness, Referral, and Education for Suicide Prevention) which operates out of Counseling and Psychological Services. This event is part of the National Suicide Prevention Week 2014. For more details on additional events, please visit masoncares.gmu.edu or GMU Mason CARES on Facebook.