Active Minds’ Send Silence Packing® exhibit has traveled the country for over a decade, reaching close to a million individuals, to end the silence that surrounds mental health and suicide and connect visitors with resources for support and action.
After the pandemic forced us to end a 31-stop Send Silence Packing tour in its tracks after only four displays, we knew we had to think creatively to continue inspiring action around suicide prevention in the new virtual world. However, we realized quickly that we wanted this segue into the digital lifestyle to live long beyond the pandemic. Thanks to the incredible support of RSM Global, we are proud to present Send Silence Packing: Beyond the Backpacks, a new virtual experience that explores the impact of suicide through story sharing and promotes tangible action to create positive culture change in your everyday.
Our new Send Silence Packing: Beyond the Backpacks features four primary messages: Your Story Matters, Your Actions Matter, You Are Not Alone, and If You Need It, Get Help Now. Below we explore how each plays a significant role in your life, community, and relationships.
Sharing stories can help inspire others to speak openly and honestly about mental health struggles. We’re so grateful to our 27 story-sharers who took the brave step to share their story of suicide’s impact on their lives to educate others, facilitate hope, and encourage help-seeking. Compiled into 13 powerful stories, we interviewed friends and family members who have survived the loss of a loved one, suicide attempt survivors, and others who have been impacted by suicide.
Prioritizing mental health in the everyday is vital to start a positive culture change in one’s life and community. Within the virtual experience, learn and explore ways to advocate for supportive mental health resources and services. Afterward, we encourage you to find what policies and resources already exist in your community and to applaud and thank others for the work they are doing well. We challenge you to get involved with your community by brainstorming with others to implement resources that can be readily and easily accessible.
It’s worth repeating: you are not alone. Mental health is treatable. Suicide is preventable. We are here for you. Sometimes that’s all you need to hear. The interactive board displays positive messages to remind you that you matter. To keep those encouraging messages flowing, you can add your own message of hope in the virtual exhibit for the next person in need of support.
We know that this topic can be sensitive and difficult to talk about. So throughout the exhibit, there is always a “Get Help Now” button in the corner of your screen that provides crisis information for when you or a loved one needs immediate support. Reaching out for help is a remarkably strong thing to do and there are people out there that truly want to support you. If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out.
We each have a part to play in preventing suicide. By speaking out and changing the conversation about mental health from one dominated by stigma and ignorance to one with support and understanding, we can save lives.
A special thank you to Sara Tagget, Andrea Alfers, Jennifer McDonnell, Ali Schwartz, Chris Keefer, Christine Keefer, Lindsey Keefer, Madison Keefer, Steve Cramer, Kathi Cramer, Pablo Campos, Tre Moss, Sam Brinton, Kelsey Pacetti, Melina Acosta, Jim Johnson, Sue Johnson, Katie Johnson, Lauren Johnson, Diana Chao, Kai Roberts, Kevin Briggs, Shaun Finnie, Selme Finnie, Allie Pisula, Megan Kenworthy, and Grace Dunlap for taking the brave step to share your story in service to others and Code and Pattern and Gray Day Studio for their vital contributions to this project. None of this could have been possible without each of you.