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Sierra College Rocklin Campus Hosts “Send Silence Packing”

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An emotionally powerful exhibit that stops at 14 college and university campuses across the country this fall to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Suicide claims the lives of more than 1,100 college students each year.

Send Silence Packing is a nationally recognized traveling exhibition of 1,100 donated backpacks, representing the number of college students lost to suicide each year. Sierra College will hold this exhibition on the Rocklin Campus, Monday, October 31. The backpacks will be displayed in the center of campus, in a high-traffic area, giving a visual representation of the scope of the problem and the number of victims. The program is designed to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide, connect students to needed mental health resources, and inspire action for suicide prevention.

Where do these backpacks come from? Active Minds Inc. created Send Silence Packing. It is the leading nonprofit organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking. Active Minds Inc. has collected and continues to collect backpacks and personal stories in memory or in honor of loved ones impacted by suicide. By displaying backpacks with personal stories, Send Silence Packing puts a "face" to lives lost to suicide and carries the message that preventing suicide is not just about improving statistics, but also about saving the lives of daughters, sons, brothers, sisters and friends across the nation. Contributions serve as a meaningful outlet for survivors' grief as well as a powerful way to raise awareness and work towards suicide prevention.

Since the inaugural display in 2008 on the National Mall in Washington, DC, Send Silence Packing has traveled to more than 100 cities in states across the country. Program evaluation data reveals that individuals leave the display wanting to learn more about mental health. Ninety-five percent of survey respondents rate the display as powerful or very powerful and 97 percent report that it is educational. Our evaluations also show that the majority of visitors tell three or more people about Send Silence Packing and many reach out to a friend in need or seek help for themselves as a result of seeing the program.

All are welcome to attend this exhibition and to start a dialogue about suicide, encouraging everyone to reach out for help before it is too late. People interested in volunteering at this event can contact Wende Fortner at: 916-660-7490 or wfortner@sierracollege.edu. www.sierracollege.edu/events.

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