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Suicide Awareness Display on Campus

Watson Library’s Lawn Hosts Send Silence Packing Event 

BY: ANNA DENISON 

Watson Library had 1,000 backpacks sprinkled throughout its lawn on Tuesday. Around 250 of them contained stories from people personally affected by suicide. 

The nonprofit Active Minds partnered with KU’s Center for Community Outreach to put on Send Silence Packing. The all-day display was brought to campus in an effort to connect students to mental health resources and raise awareness on the effects of suicide. 

Tabitha Foster, founder and co-coordinator for Hawks Mind, said she hoped the event would help teach students how everyday actions can help to create a better culture around mental health.

“Send Silence Packing is an all-day display, kind of designed to bring awareness to suicide prevention, and to connect not only individuals that attend the display to mental health resources but to also inspire action to take towards bettering mental health, both on and off-campus,” Foster said. 

The event travels around the country to different campuses and hopes to destigmatize how people perceive mental health. 

Foster said that talking about mental health openly is a way for people to be more comfortable sharing their struggles. 

“The more we talk about it, the less it’s kind of like, awkward and weird to talk about it. Especially when it comes to a topic such as suicide, there’s a lot of stigmas that still surround it as far as like, being able to talk about it,” Foster said. 

Several KU organizations had booths set up at the event to educate students about the resources available to them on campus. 

Radhia Abdirahman, executive director of the Center for Community Outreach, said that many people don’t reach out for help because they aren’t aware of the resources around them. 

“There’s just so many different types of resources that are meant to help you like, there’s so many different things available out there, just literally whatever you need, just be willing and have that, you know, which is really, it’s easy, it’s a lot easier said than done, but to have that open mind to let people in,” said Abdirahman. 

The Center for Community Outreach encourages those interested in mental health work to get involved with KU’s programming. 

For more information on programming go to cco.ku.edu

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