Story Guidelines

We greatly appreciate the personal stories sent to Active Minds

We welcome stories about hope, recovery, or help-seeking to accompany a backpack in the Send Silence Packing® suicide prevention exhibit. We also include stories in Active Minds presentations, on our website, and in other communications as part of our mission to educate and change the conversation about mental health.

We welcome stories from friends and family members who have survived the loss of a loved one or suicide attempt survivors, and are particularly interested in highlighting stories that focus on positive actions or pursued advocacy efforts, hope, and recovery. Complex feelings (i.e.anger, resentment, annoyance) can ensue after the suicide of a loved one. While all feelings are natural and valid, Send Silence Packing’s goal is to highlight messages of hope and help-seeking.

The messages in Send Silence Packing stories focus on resilience, hope, and help-seeking. For example:

  • Stories about hope or recovery
  • Stories about positive action or advocacy taken after the loss of a loved one
  • Stories that focus on the life of the loved one who was lost, rather than their death
  • Stories from survivors of suicide attempts
  • Stories that point readers to help-seeking resources

Stories should NOT include the following:

  • Descriptions of the means by which the person died by suicide, detailed information about the location, or graphic details about the state in which the person was found
  • Suggesting in any way that suicide is the way to deal with difficulties
  • Making fun of or bullying someone
  • Use of profane, sexist, racist, or homophobic language
  • Idealizing the act or after effects of suicide by suggesting, for example, that your loved one (who died by suicide) is now at peace, in a better place, or no longer in pain.
  • Naming a specific medication or behavioral health service/provider
  • Discussing a school or workplace negatively
  • Glorifying negative coping behaviors, such as self-injury or substance abuse
  • Describing one’s suicide as “inexplicable” or “without warning”
  • Expressing explicit blame or resentment toward the loved one lost to suicide
  • Assumptions about others’ thoughts and feelings

Refer to these writing guidelines

  • Use person-first language (e.g., “person with anorexia” vs. “anorexic”)
  • When discussing suicide, use the phrase “died by suicide” or “took their own life” rather than “committed suicide.” The word “committed” connotes a crime or being committed to a hospital.
  • “Suicide survivor” or “suicide loss survivor” refers to the family member or friend of the person who died by suicide.
  • “Suicide attempt survivor” refers to a person who has attempted suicide.


  • By submitting your story or photo, you agree that Active Minds may use them in materials that support mental health awareness or suicide prevention as described on the Media Release.
  • Some stories can be sensitive in nature. First and foremost, consider your own health and well-being when making the decision to share your experiences.
  • If your story is selected for use, Active Minds will often include your first name, last initial, city, and state along with your story.

how to submit your story

Please complete the Story Submission form.

If you are also interested in sending a backpack to accompany your story, please check the appropriate box on the form. All backpack donations can be sent to Active Minds c/o Send Silence Packing, 2001 S Street NW, Suite 630, Washington DC 20009.


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