Active Minds host suicide prevention event
1,100 backpacks lined the aisleways of the Student Union Atrium and covered the floor of the Pathfinder Lounge today, representative of the number of college students that die by suicide each year.
The Send Silence Packing event, hosted by the Wright State University chapter of Active Minds, will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Send Silence Packing is a traveling display that consists of 1,100 backpacks, some with personal stories attached, that represent the number of college students that commit suicide each year, with each backpack representing one individual.
Active Minds, an organization new to WSU, is hosting the event to raise awareness about mental health. According to Jason Weisman, graduate student in Psychology and vice-president of Active Minds, 50 percent of college students have suffered from depression, two out of three college students go through issues and do not seek help and one in four people, including college students have a mental health disorder.
“The bigger issue is that nobody is talking about it,” said Weisman. “When you see someone that appears to be dealing with something troubling, whether or not you speak up has a lot to do with the culture of your campus and the local area. For us, raising awareness is an attempt to change that culture and start the conversation.”
Freshman Biology major Zeppelin Hoehn was surprised by the number of students that struggle with depression and commit suicide.
“I think 1,100 backpacks is a lot,” said Hoehn. “I didn’t realize how many people were affected and how often this happened. I think it’s a good way to get the awareness up. This is a pretty moving thing, and I hope it moves people to talk about their issues.”
Weisman encourages students that know someone that is dealing with depression to be empathetic and to watch the phrasing of words when discussing such a topic.
“I think that recognizing that they’re struggling with something and reaching out by saying something supportive and empathetic really goes a long way,” said Weisman. “Telling someone to just ‘power through it’ or ‘you’ll be fine’ doesn’t really help. Helping someone is recognizing, empathizing with them and taking a supportive stance by expressing that you’ll be there for them if they want to talk about something.”
Students that are looking for more information about Active Minds can visit their website and find them on social media.