Send Silence Packing Comes to Gannon University

SSP logoPosted: April 13, 2015

Gannon University's Active Minds Chapter is bringing Send Silence Packing, an event dedicated to promoting suicide awareness, to campus on Tuesday, April 14 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friendship Green and A.J.'s Way, adjacent to the Waldron Campus Center at 124 W. Seventh St., will be filled with a powerful display of 1,100 backpacks to represent the 1,100 college students who die by suicide each year.

According to Jodi Giacomelli, Ph.D., associate director of student counseling services and adviser to Active Minds, the backpacks are accompanied by personal stories and testimonies written by families and friends of those represented. Gannon students are encouraged to walk among the display and read the stories. If any student has lost a loved one to suicide, they are encouraged to sponsor a backpack, accompanied with pictures, stories and testimonials, which will travel the country as a part of the display, Giacomelli said.

The goal of Send Silence Packing and Active Minds is to decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness on college campuses, Giacomelli said.

"There is no more shame in a diagnosis of depression than there is in a diagnosis of asthma, yet too many students with symptoms of depression feel shame and embarrassment," Giacomelli said. "When a mental illness, like depression, is treated, suicide is prevented. That is the goal of SSP - to decrease the number of backpacks that are displayed."

In additional to the nearly 100 students who volunteered the help with the event, several local mental health agencies will be hosting informational tables throughout the day, according to Giacomelli. The rain location will be located in the Waldron Campus Center.