This past fall, Send Silence Packing embarked on one of its most ambitious tours to date. We started from headquarters in Washington, D.C., and drove all the way across the country to California, hitting stops in the Midwest along the way. Now I could go on and on about what an amazing tour it was, but this time I’m going to let the numbers and a few photos do the talking.
- Truck – 1
- Road staffers – 2
- States with SSP stops – 5
- Total tour stops – 16
- States driven through – 22
- Tour length – 71 days
- Backpacks displayed – 1,100
- Miles driven – 8,839
- Resources handed out – 26,915
- Total people reached – Over 120,000
Here are some of our favorite moments:
In less than one week, we will be sending our nationally recognized suicide prevention display, Send Silence Packing, back out on the road to visit colleges and universities across the Midwestern states and California!
Send Silence Packing is a public awareness exhibit of 1,100 backpacks to represent the number of college students who die by suicide each year.
Many of the backpacks were donated by families who have lost a student to suicide and feature photos and stories. It’s an incredibly powerful visual and it really shows how prevalent and serious of an issue this is. Continue Reading
The Spring 2015 Send Silence Packing tour wrapped up last week. Over just a month, my fellow road staffer Mimi and I visited more than 21 locations from Pennsylvania to Maine, spreading awareness about suicide prevention.
Life on the road is hard, so self-care is definitely something that we, as road staffers, are aware of. Read on for some of the “Best Of” from our travels through the northeast!
Best Meal – “Lobstah” Roll at J’s Oyster in Portland, ME
This was probably the easiest decision that I’ve made on this list. As touristy as I’m sure it is to find a place to enjoy a lobster roll immediately upon entrance into Maine, I really could care less. I’d had a hankering for one of these bad boys ever since I found out that we were going to UMaine, and it sure did not disappoint.
It’s been an amazing Send Silence Packing tour. Since we’re more than halfway done, I wanted to take a look back at where we’ve been so far. Here are some of my favorite photos from each tour stop:
Fordham University, 3/31/15
University of Maine, 4/2/15
This is my second Send Silence Packing tour and after many hours on the road, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on what makes my job so awesome. Read on for my top 5 reasons of why I love doing what I do.
My brother Chris (left) and I, circa nineteen ninety-cute.
1. I lost my big brother to suicide and for about a year after, I had no interest in anything that I was doing with my life. Enter Active Minds and Send Silence Packing, and I couldn’t feel better about the work that I do.
When my journey with Send Silence Packing began, I remember feeling weary of what sorts of reactions an exhibit like this one may trigger. Even now, in post-tour conversations, people often ask about the weight of the display and how that may have affected people — and how that may have affected me.
The concern seems almost natural. When what you’re asking from someone is more than just an understanding – when what you’re asking for is empathy, you can expect a mixed bag of reactions.
Overall, my expectations for my experience with Send Silence Packing were always positive. I believed that I would push for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, I would share my story, and amazingly positive connections and interactions would come of it. I also however, expected some of these interactions to end negatively because of the weight of what is being discussed here and what that weight may mean to some.
Gaby and I have now been on the road with Send Silence Packing for over two weeks and we’ve already experienced so much. Two amazing displays at two equally amazing colleges, eight different cities and countless interactions with people from many different backgrounds, all in the name of suicide prevention and mental health awareness! I think that calls for some reflection…
At each tour stop, we set up yard signs carrying either messages of hope or informative statistics for passersby. There’s one that reads, “Each suicide produces as many as 100 survivors, or people left to grieve.”
15 months ago, I lost my older brother Chris to suicide making me one of those “survivors.” Continue Reading
“… hoping to be the first to find and keep perfect love alive.”
On May 28th, 2013 my big brother, Chris, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Thirteen days later, he took his own life.
Just weeks earlier, he wrote these ever hopeful and poetic words and sent them to a select few. In context, they refer to humans and their reckless devotion to the ideal of being in love — but what if they could mean something more? What if this “perfect love” that Chris was referring to was the love that all people could have and show for each other, regardless of their innumerable differences?
I decided to become a Send Silence Packing road trip staffer and join Active Minds because I believe they are doing just that. Continue Reading