Organizations work on ‘Send Silence Packing’ exhibit

GARDEN CITY — LiveWell Finney County, St. Catherine Hospital, Genesis Family Health, and Compass Behavioral Health are partnering with the Student Government Association (SGA) at Garden City Community College to bring Send Silence Packing to Garden City from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Quad at GCCC. 

Send Silence Packing is a traveling exhibit presented by Active Minds, the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students. 

The exhibit visits multiple stops around the country each year with the purpose of ending the silence that surrounds mental illness and suicide. 

At this time, Garden City is the only stop that the exhibit will make in the State of Kansas.

The all-day exhibit includes personal stories from individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide, and is designed to raise awareness about the impact of suicide, connect individuals to mental health resources, and inspire action for suicide prevention. Passersby are invited to walk among the Send Silence Packing backpacks to see the photographs and read the stories attached to them. Many of the backpacks were donated by families who lost a student to suicide.

Active Minds was founded in 2003 by Alison Malmon, then a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, after tragically losing her only sibling, her 22-year-old brother Brian Malmon, to suicide.

“The stigma that surrounds mental illness is the reason why many students don’t seek the help they need,” said Malmon, now the executive director of Active Minds. “Send Silence Packing is a highly visible way to combat that stigma, increase openness, and inspire action for suicide prevention.”

Since its inaugural display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2008, Send Silence Packing has reached approximately 946,710 visitors in over 200 cities and counting with messages of hope and help.

More information about Send Silence Packing is available at activeminds.org/sendsilencepacking.

For anyone thinking about suicide or worried about a friend in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text BRAVE to the Crisis Text Line at (741-741). For resources on how to be a friend to someone who is struggling with a mental health issue, visit activeminds.org/beafriend.