Tuesday I was walking to class, but I noticed something out of the ordinary. Upon further investigation, I noticed a field of backpacks strewn across Woodburn Circle. 1,100 backpacks laid silent to show the 1,100 students who have committed suicide in the last year. A very moving exhibit to say the least. Just what was happening though?
Active Minds travels to college campuses across the country with their 1,100 backpack display. On some of the backpacks there are stories of some of the people who have taken their lives, but a silent backpack for some reason spoke 1,000 words to me.
Above is a photo of a display of Send Silence Packing.
I had never heard of Active Minds before, but as someone who advocates pretty heavily for depression, I found they were founded by a girl who’s brother committed suicide. Her goal with the organization was to remove the stigma from talking about mental illness, and make sure people kept an active conversation about reaching out to someone they think needed help. Not everyone is so vocal about their depression. Some people stew in their sadness until they feel they can no longer go on. Nobody should feel that way, because there is nothing wrong with being depressed, and people should reach out to their loved ones. Active Minds hopes to inspire in students and others the the want to be there for those you love.
A photo of Active Minds display on the West Virginia University campus, credit to wdtv.
Alongside the Active Minds display, there were several tables set up for people to get the conversation going. I talked to some girls in the Psychology Club, who offered me information on counseling centers. There were people from the campus counseling office as well. Also, there were other clubs who came together to spread the word and awareness of depression to people who may not know, or even understand it.
Through Active Minds I became inspired. I realize that many college students just like me are experiencing things I experience. I think many people who saw this display on campus may have walked up to those backpacks and for the first time realized they were not alone in their fight against their depression. Depression is not the enemy of so many, rather it’s the stigma associated with it.
To learn more about Active Minds to go their website http://www.activeminds.org