Home Campus Send Silence Packing raises awareness for mental health resources on campus

Send Silence Packing raises awareness for mental health resources on campus

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Bookbags lined College Green on Tuesday for the Send Silence Packing event. Photo by Sarah Donaldson

Students walking to class through College Green on Tuesday passed hundreds of bookbags bearing stories of people who lost loved ones to suicide and notes encouraging those who suffer from mental illness to seek help.

The event, titled Send Silence Packing, was hosted by Active Minds, a nonprofit organization that supports mental health awareness and education for young adults. The organization had an active role in legislation concerning mental health.

Resources for suicide prevention and messages of support for people seeking help were posted throughout the exhibit. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

“It’s a really heavy display, but I think it affects every single person in some way,” said Kati Kuuseoks, a tour coordinator for Send Silence Packing. “Whether its directly or through a family member, a friend — maybe a friend of a friend — but I think everyone is affected by suicide in some way.”

Resources for suicide prevention and mental health awareness were also set up at booths near the bookbag display. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

The group travels to universities across the nation to present the exhibit to students and residents in an attempt to fight stigmas surrounding mental health. Active Minds accepts new bags and stories each year.

“You are Enough. You are Loved,” was chalked onto the bricks on College Green by the event. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

“It’s one thing talking about (suicide),” Kuuseoks said. “It’s another thing seeing it.” 

The bookbags memorialized college students who have died by suicide, which is the second leading cause of college-aged deaths. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

Justin Wheeler, a clinical social worker for Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services, noted the department expanded its staff over the past two years to increase resources available for students who suffer from mental illness.

One message of support reads, “It’s ok to not be ok.” Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

“This exhibit is part of our commitment to show students that if they are feeling alone, they are not alone, and we are here to support and be there for them,” Wheeler said.

Stephanie Rinaldi is the secretary of the Ohio University chapter of Active Minds. The traveling Send Silence Packing event is one of the national chapter’s projects. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.
Another message of support reads, “Seeking help shows strength.” Photo by Sarah Donaldson.
A bookbag from the California State University — Long Beach Gay Straight Alliance was one of many set out on College Green. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.
A visitor at the exhibit reads one of the stories on the bookbags. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

The following mental health services are available to Ohio U students:

  • Individual, couple and group counseling
  • Drop-in services from 9:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday on the third floor of Hudson Health Center
  • Two full-time psychiatrists
  • Counselors on the first floor of the Living Learning Center on Sunday-Friday from 5-10 p.m.
  • 24-hour hotline at (740) 593-1616 

 

Sarah Donaldson and Emily Zeiler contributed to this report.

 

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