NIU aims to send silent packaging with a backpack display – Northern Star

Abbi Sweeney

The trees at MLK Commons appear to be changing color on Monday, just as the weather turns colder this week. (Abbi Sweeney | North Star)

FromKALB – NIU is set to host the Send Silence Packing display on Tuesday in the MLK Commons. The display will feature more than 1,000 backpacks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to represent the number of students who die by suicide each year. Many backpacks have been donated by families who have lost loved ones to suicide. Students are free to walk around and read the stories attached to the backpacks.

Active Minds, a non-profit organization that works to improve a more inclusive work environment, presents this event to educate students about the importance of mental health. Alison Malmon founded the program two decades ago following the suicide of her older brother Brian after his depression went untreated.

For nearly two decades, Active Minds has traveled the country encouraging young teens and adults to be unafraid to talk about mental health and to seek help when needed. NIU will host a Community Resource Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day to educate students about the mental health services NIU has to offer.

Anyone who is struggling or unsure how to help a student can call Counseling and Consultation Services at 815-753-1206. The line is available 24 hours a day.