Frequently Asked Questions for Hosting Send Silence Packing

We are looking forward to partnering with you to bring Send Silence Packing® to your community. Below you will find a set of tools and resources to consider while planning your event.

Send Silence Packing Frequently Asked Questions

For Active Minds Chapters, the cost for one display is $6,000 with the option to discuss “bulk pricing” if you work with other schools in your area. A down payment of 50% of the display costs must be submitted prior to the date of your display, with the remaining balance due 48 hours before the scheduled display date. If your college/university/high school rules prohibit payment in advance, a different payment schedule can likely be arranged.

In addition, depending on your venue, you may need to secure additional funding to cover any of the items below, which you must provide in order to successfully host Send Silence Packing. 

Finding a great location for Send Silence Packing is typically the most important element for success.

The more foot traffic that can naturally travel through a location, the better that location will be for hosting a display.

We will provide content warning signage to display around edges of the display; since the display can be highly sensitive for some, please ensure that space reserved can fairly easily be avoided and has an alternative route for students to take if necessary.

Send Silence Packing requires reserving a large, highly trafficked outdoor space with a minimum of 70×70 foot space – about 1/4 of a football field – to accommodate the 1,000+ backpacks, tents, signage, and more. The backpacks can be arranged thoughtfully to accommodate unique architecture, structures or characteristics of a concrete plaza.

In the case of inclement weather, it is important to have an effective indoor location secured (i.e. rain, snow, high winds, wet grounds, etc). For your indoor location, aim to find a place with significant, natural traffic and flow of people throughout the day. Examples include a large common area, lobby area of the student union/center and an atrium. Spaces with large windows that can be seen from many vantage points help to attract viewers to the display. Finding a large space is ideal, but the backpacks can be contained in a smaller space indoors to prioritize finding an area with traffic.

Arrangements must be made to park the Send Silence Packing box truck (typically 16-feet in length, 10.5-11.5 feet in height; size of a typical moving truck) during the day, and space must be reserved to unload the backpacks in the morning and reload them at the end of the day – for both indoor and outdoor potential display locations. 

The truck typically requires the equivalent of at least three regular parking spaces to fit. Note that the truck unloading and loading zone must be as close to the display as possible for ideal set up and breakdown. 

Ensure that the truck can easily get to the reserved parking spot by being mindful of any low bridges or low-hanging trees.

Yes! You’ll meet the tour coordinators during a pre-event site visit, typically the day before the exhibit, at a mutually agreed upon time between them and the host. Active Minds staff will communicate with you to arrange parking for the truck during the ~1 hour site visit.

Active Minds will work closely with your community and your Active Minds chapter (if applicable) to ensure that your Send Silence Packing display is a success.

  • Two highly trained Tour Coordinators to manage all aspects of the event
  • ~1,000 backpacks, more than 250 with personal stories and photos affixed
  • Signage (an 8×3’ banner displayed with above-ground banner stands, educational lawn signs, trigger warning and alternative route signage, as well as additional ground and table signs)
  • Two 10×10’ branded and weighted tents (please ensure approval from University Fire Marshall)
  • 1,000+ educational flyers to distribute to those who pass by the exhibit
  • Branded buttons and stickers for giveaways
  • 25 branded t-shirts for volunteers
  • Three display tables (tables and chairs will be provided by Active Minds) with educational resources on mental health, suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and information for survivors
  • iPads, iPad stands, and headphones to display Behind the Backpacks, our virtual experience that explores the impact of suicide through story sharing
  • Interactive prompt cards to be completed by participants and given to the exhibit host following the program
  • A program journal that travels with the exhibit and provides space for interactive reflection
  • Direct support from Active Minds National Office

Send Silence Packing is an all-day program that runs about 6-8 hours. Typically, the SSP Tour Coordinators arrive at 7:30am with all of the materials in the branded Send Silence Packing® truck. Display set up requires 1.5 hours, and is typically ready to open by 9am. The event closes at about 4pm and take down requires 1.5 hours. 

Any permits needed for the display space should reflect the needed timing for setup, the display itself and the pack up. 

A sufficient amount of volunteer support should be provided throughout the day to help unload the truck at the beginning of the day, hand out educational flyers throughout the day, and pack up the truck at the end of the day.  You can consider working with other campus departments, local non-profits, and other volunteer-based organizations to recruit volunteers. Recruiting about 25 volunteers is a good goal to aim for.

Recommended volunteer coverage:

  • 10-12 volunteers for set up (typically about 7:30 – 9am)
  • 5-8 for staffing the display throughout the day to engage passersby and hand out flyers
  • 10-12 for take down (typically about 4 – 5:30pm)

Active Minds requests that at least one mental health counselor and/or trained mental health provider is available at the event for on-site support to respond to any concerns that arise due to the sensitive nature of the exhibit. 

Additionally, the host should make every effort to market and promote the exhibit at least two weeks in advance, so that the community is given the opportunity to know about and avoid the display if they choose to do so for their own mental health needs.

Ideally, yes. If at a school, work with campus administration to send pre-event emails to the student body acknowledging that the display will be on campus, the goals of the program, and a map with the alternate routes to avoid the display if necessary. 

Template pre- and post-emails provided in our Send Silence Packing Media Kit (password: backpacks).

Please feel free to reach out to Active Minds staff for further guidance or support on this.

“The Send Silence Packing Event includes personal stories given by people who have lost a loved one to suicide. While it is not the intent of Send Silence Packing to evoke distress, we caution that exposure to sensitive content may awaken trauma centers in the brain or the recollection of challenging personal history. For this reason, host sites are required to staff their events with mental health professionals.”

Accessibility is the ability of an environment, device, or service to be used by as many people as possible. This concept is essential in the design of various spaces, products and institutions because it ensures that individuals of varying physical, sensory, and neurological abilities can equally and fully enjoy them.

For more information on accessibility centered event planning, visit the complete A Planning Guide for Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities.

Some general guidelines:

  • Make sure that the space you have reserved for your event can both be reached and used by people using mobility aids
    • Ensure that there is an alternative route avoiding the display which is also physically accessible 
    • Provide accessible pathways (Refer to Getting Around) for more details)
    • Provide an accessible event space (Refer to Entrances and Ground and Floor Surfaces) 
  • Some of the volunteer work involved in SSP involves heavy lifting. Disclose this when recruiting volunteers to help you with the exhibit and make sure that this will not impact their physical health 

Consult with disability support services within your community to determine the best practices in making your event accessible. If these resources are not available on your campus, contact the ADA National Network by calling 1-800-949-4232 V/TTY, or through their website.