By Isabella Patta, Chattanooga, Tenn. —
Send Silence Packing will stop at UTC on its nationwide suicide awareness campaign with 1,100 backpacks to represent the students who die from suicide each year.
The event will take place on Wednesday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the area of Heritage Plaza and Chamberlain Pavilion.
Students from campuses around the nation that have been affected by suicide have donated some of the 1,100 backpacks; some backpacks have facts on them while others have personal stories.
UTC’s Active Minds chapter, Counseling and Personal Development Center and Student Health Services will sponsor the event.
Lisa Brady, Graduate Assistant for the Counseling and Personal Development Center, said, ”If students don’t have a personal encountering with the subject, it doesn’t affect them. The main goal is to raise awareness about the issue.”
Active Minds goal is to fight the stigma against people with mental health problems. The campaigns are meant to break down the barrier and make the conversation about the topic more real.
Brady stated that a statistic published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, showed that every 13 minutes a person in America dies by suicide and that in 2015, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the age group of 15-34 year olds.
Tricia Henderson, Assistant Director, AOD and Mental Health Education said, “For some reason people are not ashamed to get help for physical health issues, but there is a lot of shame, guilt and misunderstanding related to mental health.”
UTC belongs to 11 Universities where the Send Silence Packing campaign is stopping during their spring tour; other Universities include Emory University or Johns Hopkins University. Schools have to apply and get accepted to have the tour stop at their campus. It is the first time that the campaign will be at UTC.
The Counseling Center staff will be at Heritage plaza answering questions and providing information for students. Henderson said that suicide is 100% preventable and that the event hopefully brings attention to the resources that are available on campus and within the community.
If students want to learn more about UTC’s Active Minds chapter and becoming involved, there are two more meetings this semester. On April 13 at 3 p.m. there will be a “Movie and Meeting with Popcorn and Pizza!” in the Sequoyah room in the UC and on April 20 at 3 p.m. a ‘Meet and Greet’ in the Ocoee room in the UC.