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Exhibit at Georgia Southern raises awareness about mental health

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:35 PM EDT
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STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - The “Send Silence Packing” exhibit is designed to show students they aren’t alone and there are resources to offer help.

Hundreds and hundreds of bags covered Sweetheart Circle on the Statesboro campus of Georgia Southern University. The bags represent the college students across the country lost to suicide each year.

Students say an overwhelmed friend or classmate’s passing comment can sometimes be a cry for help.

“It comes up quite often, especially as a graduate student. There are a lot of expectations, a lot of pressure,” graduate student Mambwe Mutiti said.

Nationally, 13 percent of students acknowledge thoughts of suicide. Two percent acknowledge they’ve attempted to take their own life.

The university counseling center teamed with an organization called Active Minds to bring the exhibit here.

Many of the backpacks feature a family’s heartbreaking story of losing their loved one to suicide.

“A display like this helps students feel they’re not alone and that this is a conversation we should be having,” said Angela Landers, with the GSU Counseling Center.

She says they’ve seen an increase in appointments and walk-in patients at the center. She wants students to know they can ask for help.

Mutiti says it’s also OK for students to check on each other.

“Since the pandemic, our language about mental health has changed completely and people who’re overburdened are reaching out more than before,” Mutiti said.

The exhibit shifts to the Residential Plaza on the Armstrong campus on Wednesday.

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