Backpack Display Depicts College Suicides, Encourages Discussion

From: Public Affairs

More than 1,000 backpacks representing the number of college students who commit suicide each year will be on display 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, at James Madison University.

The "Send Silence Packing" display by Active Minds will be set up on the lawn behind the Festival Conference and Student Center.

In addition to the display, Active Minds founder Alison Malmon will speak from noon to 1 p.m. and Jordan Burnham, a survivor, will speak from 3:30-4:30 p.m. A table with mental health resources and general information also will be available.

Active Minds, a nonprofit organization that educates college students about mental health and suicide, collects and displays backpacks from families and friends of those whose lives have been touched by suicide. The organization hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and provide an accepting environment for students to share their mental health stories and seek help.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Active Minds supports a rapidly growing network of more than 250 student-run chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. JMU launched an Active Minds chapter in spring 2009.

Tuesday's event is the organization's first stop on a 10-city tour.

For more information about the JMU event, see the Facebook event at www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107951109224967.

More information about Active Minds can be found on its Web site.

The rain location is Memorial Hall Forum and Auditorium.

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April 2, 2010