Traveling Exhibit Aims to Prevent Student Suicide

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TURLOCK — CSU Stanislaus and Modesto Junior College are holding an exhibit aimed at preventing student suicide.

The powerful symbol in the exhibit are the backpacks that serve as grave markers for all the students who took their own lives.

“Inspire conversations around mental health, end the stigma and inspire action for suicide prevention,” Send Silence Packing tour coordinator Erin Simon said.

Personal stories of tragedy went along with the thousand backpacks that were laid out at Stanislaus State as part of the national traveling exhibit Send Silence Packing.

“To have them walk away feeling like they learned something and feel empowered to then have conversations with their friends and to feel more equipped to have those conversations,” Simon said.

Organizers say the book bags represent the estimated number of suicides on college campuses each year.

“I think it brings about an awareness about a topic that a lot of people feel comfortable talking about,” school health education coordinator Megan Rowe said. “We’re just trying to send a message of hope to our students to letting them know that they’re not alone, that we have resources for them.”

The goal is to show students they’re not alone and help is always available.

“If they’re suffering from depression, stress or something,” Stanislaus State student Lucia Hidalgo said. “Just seek out for help and then, like, talk to somebody about it.”

The exhibit will be at Modesto Junior College on Thursday before it heads to Sacramento State.

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