College of the Canyons’ Active Minds club organized the Send Silence Packing event to honor the 1,100 college students who lose their lives to suicide each year.
In early September, 1,100 donated backpacks and testimonials, written by family members and friends who lost their lives to suicide, were displayed across the honor grove.
“It’s really upsetting to me that this many students think that this is the only way out and that there is not help that they can get and I think that there should be, to everyone, help that they could seek,” said College of the Canyons student Hart Cosenza.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death amongst college students and two out of three students who feel like they need help don’t seek it.
“What we are trying to do is draw attention to the fact that 1,100 students across the country that are college students take their live every year,” said Larry Schallert, Assistant Director of the Student Health & Wellness/Mental Health Program at College of the Canyons.
The purpose of the event according to the Active Minds website is to move away from the idea that suicide prevention is about lower statistics but about saving real lives.
“Right here at College of the Canyons we had three students that took their life, so we know it’s a really serious issue,” said Schallert.
Spreading the knowledge that help is out there for students who feel suicidal, whether it be a friend or a professional.
“We want everybody to have the suicide hotline in their telephone,” explained Schallert. “All students, faculty and staff should have that number on their phones.”