UD Suicide Prevention Week plans to ‘send silence packing’

Starting Monday, the University of Dayton will be offering events all week for Suicide Prevention Week. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Grace Dipierro | Staff Writer

In recent years, the University of Dayton has been committed to changing the conversation around mental health, specifically around the topic of suicide. The University is sponsoring Suicide Prevention Week from Sept. 27- Oct. 3 to bring to the forefront sensitive and important topics. 

Throughout the week, there will be programming, panel discussions and initiatives offered to allow members of the UD community to learn more about mental health, ask questions and access resources. 

UD Health and Wellbeing is collaborating with Active Minds, a nonprofit working to break the stigma around mental health, to host “Send Silence Packing” on Monday. “Send Silence Packing” is an interactive event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that will take place on KU Central Mall. The display calls attention to the stories of 1,000 people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The exhibit has toured the country to raise awareness for a pervasive and prevalent mental health issue. Active Minds and UD Health and Wellbeing will place more than 1,000 backpacks on KU Central Mall, each one detailing unique and moving experiences. 

Vice President for Student Development William Fischer, Assistant Vice President of Health and Wellbeing Melissa Longino and Student Government Association President Drew Moyer released a joint announcement detailing the exhibit and other events.

“We encourage all within the UD community to attend and seek out helpful resources for themselves, friends or loved ones,” the announcement said. 

For those who cannot attend in-person but would still like to experience this exhibit in some way, Active Minds has also created an interactive online exhibit called “Behind the Backpacks.” This virtual experience shares audio stories outlining how to actively break the misconceptions about mental health. 

There will be several other events going on throughout the week, including UD Campus Recreation’s PATH to 30, a PATH eligible event where students can explore the mental health benefits that result from at least 30 minutes of exercise. 

Students have the option to take part in an event called Light up UD on Monday night. Those living in dorms and houses across campus are encouraged to turn on all of the lights in their homes to “shine a light” on suicide prevention. 

Additionally, there will be post-it notes at the Hangar, a Flyer Farmers’ Market teach-in, a documentary screening, a virtual webinar about suicide prevention at UD and other events taking place all week. 

The goal of Suicide Prevention Week is not to cause distress, but to create a more supportive atmosphere around mental health. The change starts within the UD community, so it can end the silence and send a message of hope to fellow Flyers. 

“Let’s use this week of events to inspire hope and convey that, ‘today is the DAY TO Never give up,’ as we create a connection to resources so students can ‘take the next step’ in their mental health and wellbeing journey,” Fischer, Longino and Moyer wrote.

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