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Send Silence Packing exhibit raises suicide awareness

Published: October 11, 2021 Author: Ryan Ottney

Hundreds of backpacks soon will be lined across College Green in Athens in recognition of suicide awareness for the Send Silence Packing exhibit on display Oct. 12.

The exhibit, on loan from the Active Minds national organization in Washington, D.C., is on loan to Ohio University through its student chapter and first displayed on the Athens campus in 2019. Active Minds is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for young adults.

“These donated backpacks are from family members who have lost someone from suicide,” said David Lairmore, a psychologist and outreach coordinator with Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services. “Each backpack is decorated with a message from family members telling a story of the person they have lost. People can walk around the exhibit and read those stories. The purpose of it is to keep suicide awareness mindful on college campuses because it is sadly a high prevalence at universities.”

Funding for the display was donated by the Ross Griffin Memorial Foundation in memory of Ross Griffin.

“Even though someone may present themselves as outgoing and social, you don’t really know what’s going on for them. Even if you know the signs – if someone were to withdraw or started giving their things away, I think people would be really tuned in to make sure those people get help,” Lairmore said. “But the bigger piece is: we don’t know all the time if those signs are going to be present so it’s really good to check in and see how people are doing.”

The Send Silence Packing exhibit will be on display from 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m. Oct. 12 on College Green.

“I hope this brings more recognition to students who are suffering in silence because of their mental health,” Lairmore said.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of self-harm, please call Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services at 740-593-1616, or simply text HOME to the Crisis Help Line at 741741.