Send Silence Packing: Breaking the Stigma Surrounding Suicide

Suicide is a taboo subject. No matter how much we’ve progressed, it’s still somehow hard to have an open and honest conversation about mental health issues – especially serious ones. It’s important to talk about it – important to build a forum for everyone to discuss their mental health and how it affects them. It’s important to be open to that conversation.

That’s what Send Silence Packing aimed to do. Organized by the Boston University branch of Active Minds, it aimed to open up the conversation about suicide. Through displaying one thousand backpacks across the BU beach in what seemed like a graveyard, it symbolized a thousand students that die each year through suicide. In this way, they attempted to bring about a conversation about suicide prevention. This has been a national initiative through Active Minds that had been done in Alabama, California, and now on our campus. 

It was a very moving display and anyone who walked on Bay State on Thursday (28th of September) wouldn’t have missed it. There were all kinds of backpacks – from My Little Pony ones to ones with writing on it. There were other ones that look just like mine and yours as well, because suicide happens to people who seem just like us.

Sisters, parents, and friends wrote notes which were attached to the backpacks. Some wrote about how much they missed them, some of them told a narrative about the person's life and how they wish they recognized the signs from before.

It was a great way to open up the conversation about suicide – to show the student body how it’s something that can affect them too – through something everyone likely carries with them every single day. Something about the event made it seem like this was all that was left of them – a possession that carried their burdens and stories from the people closest to them. Often when we hear about someone who we don’t know committing suicide, the concern can feel so distant. However, reading the stories and seeing a piece of them made them feel so real. So much so that you wanted to do something about it.


Prevention is always better.