Send Silence Packing exhibit at NMU raises awareness about mental health issues

MARQUETTE — On Monday the Northern Michigan University chapter of a national mental health organization hosted a traveling exhibit on campus to raise mental health awareness among students.

Send Silence Packing is an exhibit put on by mental health advocacy group Active Minds. Send Silence Packing goes to different colleges around the country to educate students about mental health and suicide awareness.

The exhibit consists of 1,100 backpacks on display. The backpacks represent the approximate number of college students in the United States who lose their lives to suicide every year.

“All the backpacks represent the number of students who are lost to suicide each year,” explained Sadie Knill, co–president of the Active Minds NMU Chapter. “About two hundred of them have actually been donated by friends and families who have lost their loved ones, and they have their stories on them.”

NMU’s chapter of Active Minds brought this display to campus in hopes of eliminating the stigma around mental health issues and starting conversations about mental health and suicide. They also wanted to show any student who may be struggling with a mental health issue that there is help available to them.

“All college campuses and a lot of people deal with mental health, but it is something that is so stigmatized,” said Knill. “And we felt that it was a particular issue at our school. So we wanted to get more students at NMU talking about mental health and be more comfortable with it so that we could help more people who feel like they’re going through something.”

The Send Silence Packing exhibit was on display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trained professionals from the Active Minds organization were at the display throughout the day to give out information, answer questions, and educate students on mental health resources.