ParentClick Santa Barbara

Backpack Display at UCSB to Help Create a Dialogue About Suicide

Send Silence Packing

1,100 backpacks will be scattered across UC Santa Barbara’s Student Resource Building Lawn on Monday, October 12th from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to represent the number of college students who take their own lives each year.

UCSB’s Active Minds chapter invites the community to help save lives by standing up to stigma and attending the suicide awareness event, called “Send Silence Packing.”

“Being selected as one of only a handful of California schools in 2015 to host this display was no small feat,” said Ryan Sims, staff advisor to Active Minds and Associate Director of Student Mental Health Coordination Services at UCSB. “It is my hope this display will inspire students at UCSB to join Active Minds in record numbers this year and assist the chapter in their education and advocacy efforts to destigmatize mental illness and encourage students to seek help as soon as help is needed.”

Send Silence Packing is a nationally recognized public education exhibit of 1,100 backpacks – representing the number of students lost to suicide every year – that travels to college campuses and city spaces. Active Minds has partnered with the Mental Wellness Center to co-host the exhibit’s stop in Santa Barbara and inspire action for suicide prevention.

“Mental health problems are common among college students and the consequences of untreated mental health issues can be devastating,” said Annmarie Cameron, CEO of the Mental Wellness Center. “Stigma is a major reason why students don’t seek the help they need and when it comes to suicide, that help could save their lives. The Mental Wellness Center is teaming up with Active Minds to raise awareness, offer resources to students, and encourage them to reach out for help.”

The powerful outdoor exhibit of 1,100 donated backpacks sheds light on college student suicide and promotes a healthy dialogue around mental health. To give a “face” to the lives lost, personal stories and testimonies written by families and friends accompany the backpacks. Passersby will be invited to walk among the backpacks and read the stories of those who have died.

In addition, the Mental Wellness Center and Active Minds will provide literature on mental health, suicide prevention and community resources for seeking help.

Send Silence Packing is a program of Active Minds, Inc., the leading national nonprofit organization working to engage students in the conversation about mental health.

The backpack display travels throughout the Midwest and California. This will be its first time in Santa Barbara. The program was unveiled on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2008, with a keynote speech by The Honorable Patrick Kennedy. Since then, more than 320,000 people in 98 cities throughout the country have experienced Send Silence Packing.

For more information, visit Active Minds continues to collect backpacks in honor of loved ones. If you’ve been impacted by suicide you can send in your story to

For more information about the Mental Wellness Center, please call 805-884-8440 or visit

About Active Minds, Inc.
Active Minds is the leading national nonprofit organization working to engage the student voice to change the conversation about mental health. Through a rapidly growing network of more than 400 student-led chapters at high schools, colleges and universities, Active Minds empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking. Active Minds has chapters in 45 states plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada and Ecuador. Active Minds is a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington D.C.

About the Mental Wellness Center
The Mental Wellness Center is a private, non-profit organization providing recovery, education, and family services to adults and families affected by mental illness. For more information, please call (805) 884-8440 or visit

October 8, 2015

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