Send Silence Packing sees large turnout, spreads awareness


Ronnie Kosciuk

Send Silence Packing and Behind the Backpacks provide a display of backpacks with personal stories written on them about people who have lost their life to suicide and those who have survived. The display aims to prevent suicide and have others read these messages. The display lasted from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon on Monday.

Cam'ron Hardy and Drew Coffey

Send Silence Packing, an event that raises awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, occurred Monday in the Booth Library Quad from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. 

The event displayed numerous backpacks surrounding the quad with photos and descriptions of those who have lost their life to suicide. 

Eric Davidson, the executive director of health and counseling services, gave information about the goals of the event.

“The backpacks have stories attached to them that tell the story of the individual that committed suicide and in their life, their story, their history, their positive traits, how they’re missed, and really the event is to really create awareness about suicide,” Davidson said. 

Davidson also said how the event works to reduce the stigma surrounding seeking help for people with mental struggles.

“Encouraging people to seek help if they’re depressed, if they feel suicidal, if they’re thinking about hurting themselves,” Davidson said. “Really to reach out to help one another to get the help they need because we don’t want anyone to go through this.”      

Davidson credits the Active Minds organization for helping set up the event and talking with students.  

Active Minds is a nonprofit organization working to provide help and support for mental health. The organization was started in 2003 by Alison Malmon after a loved one died due to suicide.   

Display Coordinator for Send Silence Packing Claire Bernhard said she wants to help promote healing for those who are or know someone struggling with mental struggles.

“[I want to] make it something that we’re able to talk about and start the conversation,” Bernhard said. “I want mental health to be talked about as much as physical health.” 

Bernhard said that the impact that is left on people after finding support has made a significant difference.

Kelsey Pacetti, another Send Silence Packing display coordinator, said traveling around the country spreading awareness to people of all ages has had a positive effect.  

Pacetti said that she has found hope through the peer on peer support that she has seen through Active Minds. 

Pacetti said she has been a member of Active Minds for almost five years.  

Eric Davidson said the event has been met with positive feedback from Eastern students. 

“We’ve had great participation,” Davidson said. “We’ve had a lot of people stopping in and people coming to the people for literature.”  

Members of the event hoped to give informational handouts to at least 10 percent of Eastern students and ended up meeting their goal by 11 a.m., two hours of the seven-hour event, according to Davidson.  

“So they’re pretty happy with the turnout today,” Davidson said. 

For those seeking mental health support on Eastern’s campus, a resource is the Counseling Clinic located on the first floor of the Human Services Building.


Cam’ron Hardy and Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].