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

Send Silence Packing (SSP) is a traveling exhibit and an immersive experience that tells the stories and centers the voices of youth to end the silence surrounding suicide. The exhibit serves as a mobilizing force to change the way we think, talk, and feel about mental health, and (perhaps most importantly,) how we show up for the people around us.

Since its inaugural exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2008, Send Silence Packing (SSP) has reached more than 350 communities and 1,000,000 visitors with messages of hope and support. As one of the longest running programs at Active Minds, SSP was launched to end the silence surrounding suicide through the power of story and resource sharing. With young adults at the forefront of our movement to change the conversation about mental health, SSP has historically and primarily toured on college and university campuses across the country, although we have recently expanded our reach to include a broader range of community settings.

At Active Minds, we believe that everyone has mental health and we all play a role in changing the conversation about mental health. As culture makers and movement builders, we know that our youth is our power in mobilizing the next generation. As a signature program at Active Minds, Send Silence Packing aims to validate the experiences of young adults by telling stories that show us how we are not alone in our struggles. Our goal is to spark lasting mental health change in communities by stimulating conversations and championing training and skills building.

In an effort to align Send Silence Packing with Active Minds’ strategic plan and newly released Theory of Change, the team made the decision to ground the program for one season (Spring 2023). With this time, the Send Silence Packing national staff researched and designed a revamp of the nationally acclaimed program to ensure that it adheres to public health best practices of mental health promotion and suicide prevention, and aligns with an evidence-based theoretical framework.

SSP 2.0 focuses on a wraparound experience for hosts and community members for long term impact that promotes ongoing conversations about mental health rather than a one-time intervention in the form of a singular event. In addition to a customized needs assessment, menu of options, and one-year impact report offered to each host as part of the pre and post event services available to them, the landscape of the program itself on the day of the event has been transformed in the image of an immersive experience similar to a guided museum exhibit. Its four main parts include a story labyrinth with 100 stories on 100 backpacks that are elevated on t-stands for accessibility and visual purposes, a Behind the Backpacks audio storytelling tent with headphones and seating, a Resource Tent with literature for help-seeking and skills building, and a Hope Wall to encourage reflection and uplifting messages.

SSP is a traveling exhibit that visits schools and communities nationwide. The program tours twice a year for three months at a time at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. Before booking the program, you meet with the SSP Team at Active Minds National to discuss what’s included in the package, review expectations for hosting, schedule a date, and secure a location on your campus or in your community. We bring all the equipment needed for the event and walk you through each step as it relates to planning, volunteer training, and wraparound services for pre and post event community support. The event itself is typically held outdoors (weather permitting) in a 50’ x 50’ ft space and takes place from 9am to 4pm.

To begin the inquiry process, please fill out the online interest form on our website: From there, the SSP Team will be in touch to communicate our upcoming regional schedule and whether we may be able to accommodate a tour stop in your community. Next, we will discuss packaging options, pricing, and contracting to confirm your spot on our next SSP Tour!

There’s a lot you can do to get involved! Start by checking in with a friend who may be struggling, downloading our free stress-less toolkit, learning V-A-R to navigate tough conversations, and sharing our postvention guide to offer support to communities in the wake of loss. For more information, explore our array of program offerings here:

Whatever your reaction may be to the stories you interacted with today, know that your feelings are valid and you are not alone. It’s okay to experience a range of emotions and it’s often helpful to hold space for all of them, big or small. As you process these emotions, we encourage you to center self or community care to share the load and end the silence around mental health and suicide: Call a friend, contact your local counseling center, go on a walk, watch a comfort TV show, or dance to some music.

If you need immediate help or support, text or call 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

We welcome stories about hope, recovery, or help-seeking to accompany a backpack in the Send Silence Packing® traveling exhibit. Please read our Story Guidelines carefully and then fill out the Story Submission Form. Our storytelling committee will review your story and be in touch with any questions, should your story be selected. We thank you for sharing your story and appreciate your vulnerability in personalizing your experience.