Send Silence Packing, a national traveling exhibition of donated backpacks representing the roughly 1,100 college students lost to suicide each year, is making stops this spring at central San Joaquin Valley community college campuses.
The program by Active Minds, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to changing the discussion about mental health, is designed to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide, connect students to needed mental health resources, and inspire action for suicide prevention.
At each exhibit of Send Silence Packing, about 1,100 backpacks are displayed in a high-traffic area of campus — for instance, the quad or, in the case Monday at Fresno City College, the cafeteria — giving a visual representation of the scope of the problem and the number of victims.
The exhibit moves to Clovis Community College on Tuesday. Next month, it'll be at the Madera Center on May 2 and Reedley College on May 3.
Tuesday's stop in Clovis is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At noon, the Active Minds Club will dedicate a backpack in memory of the late Audrey Heyne, a former student who committed suicide in 2016. Audrey's mother, Cecilia Ferrer-Heyne, will attend the dedication. The college has a memorial scholarship dedicated to Ms. Heyne.