Send Silence Packing Exhibit raises awareness about suicide


Perla Lara

Biology major Cristal Guerra-Ramos during the Send Silence Packing Exhibit hosted by the Active Minds club on Thursday Sept.29. Guerra-Ramos was looking at one of the 1,100 backpacks that represent the number of college students that commit suicide each year. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Alvaro Bayona and Perla Lara

Suicidal thoughts, contemplating suicide and attempting suicide are not easy subjects for anyone to express and openly talk about.

Mental health is not a topic commonly brought into a daily conversation with strangers or friends, which is one of the reasons the Active Minds organization has created the Send Silence Packing exhibit.

Another reason for the event was to raise awareness about suicide among college students.

The exhibit consists of displaying 1, 100 backpacks on the campus grounds to represent the number of college students that lose their lives to suicide each year.

On Thursday Sept. 29 the exhibit was on the Cerritos College campus.

Backpacks were scattered like tombs on the ground at Falcon Square. There, they lied on the ground, representing those who left this world forever.

On a few of the backpacks were the pictures of the fallen with the stories they left behind.

Students who passed by took their time to see and read the memories left behind by those who vanished from reality forever.

Students also read the signs on the grass that had statistics about suicide.

Nursing major Kelly Ingurito said, “I think it’s really sad and heartbreaking seeing this. It’s really to come to the realization that it [suicide] happens. I wish it would be different.”

Active Minds Road Staffer Samantha Greenhalgh started traveling with the exhibit in August and has since been to seven different colleges showing the exhibit.

Greenhalgh said, that on average the active minds staff would talk to 3,000 people or more.

She said the common reaction from the people who see the exhibit is to “thank us [active minds staff] for being here, and doing promotion for [the issue of suicide].”

One person who was thankful was undecided Major, Dario Cambron, he said, “It’s very depressing to see this. The scene delivers such a pretty sad feeling to me, and I don’t like suicide. I’m also glad that Active Minds is doing this to help out those who need a chance to speak.”

Vice President of Active Minds Georgette Farias said, “I like that fact that we at Active Minds take out time to help those out who need help. We try our best to make sure someone can be heard. Stuff like this brings awareness all over campuses.”

President of Active Minds Rebecca Johnson said, “Active Minds will continue to make sure that if anyone needs to speak out, they’ll be there. They’ll be there to prevent suicide.”

Greenhalgh also said, “The biggest thing people can do to help is to be a mental health advocate, talk about their mental health and be open to talking about their friend’s mental health.”