Send Silence Packing Project

Trigger Warning: Suicide

 

Since 2008, the Send Silence Packing Project is a worldwide phenomenon that I witnessed for the first time today. On our campus I saw dozens of students stopping to read the messages on the backpacks laid across the lawn of the Bell Tower. Some students stopped to each individual backpack, others sat in the grass with remorseful looks, and others slowed by the long rows of backpacks.

 

Being a second year, I have heard about this event beforehand. However, this was my first time as an undergraduate seeing the display in person. I felt as if I was in a cemetery and time had stopped completely. I was running late to class, but everything around me seemed insignificant now. That morning, I had woke up late and I missed the bus which put me in a bad mood.

 

Seeing this project though made me become mindful of myself and others around me.

 

This project was brought to our campus through the UCR Active Minds chapter; which is a group that advocates on mental health awareness, removing the stigma from mental illness, and also spreading suicide prevention. Being a volunteer with another wellness group on campus, I consider Active Minds to be our partners of those in Golden ARCHES here on campus.

 

Some of our volunteers were asked to set up and clean up, but now personally I think it would have been a lot for me to handle.

 

This project is to promote suicide prevention and also is considered to be a method of coping with grief for some of those who had a lost a loved one. Each backpack is donated directly from someone who has lost someone from suicide, as stated by Active Minds.

 

(Courtesy of Active Minds)

 

I believe this project has a tremendous effects for those that see it. Next time the project comes I would definitely be open to helping set up since I now have a little more familiarity with it. I encourage people to take a moment to read the stories behind the backpacks. Each one is from the original owner, who deserve to have their story read.

 

Send silence packing for good because sometimes, the silence hurts more than anything.

 

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UCR Counseling and Psychological Services Telephone: (951) 827-5531

National Suicide Hotline Number: 1-800-273-8255