(Orange, CA)—In an effort to raise awareness of incidents of suicide and open a dialogue on a highly stigmatized subject, Active Minds, the psychology department, and Psychological Services at Santiago Canyon College (SCC) will be hosting Send Silence Packing, a public education display of 1,100 donated backpacks representing the 1,100 college students lost to suicide every year. This display will be at the college on Monday, October 17 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on the Humanities Building lawn.
Cristian Dominguez, a 21-year-old psychology major, is one of the members of SCC’s Active Minds chapter who has been helping to organize this event. Active Minds is the leading nonprofit organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking. Dominguez, current Active Minds vice president, and two other students were in an intersession course when they started to talk about wanting to become involved at school. Someone had heard of the Active Minds club before and SCC students Lilliana Lopez and Anthony Medina decided that they wanted to start up this club again at SCC. This Active Minds chapter re-started a semester later in February 2016.
Send Silence Packing means a lot to Dominguez. The issues addressed by this event speak to his own struggles with anxiety. He didn’t understand what he was dealing with when he first started to have problems with anxiety, so he hopes that through events like Send Silence Packing students will be more aware of mental health topics. In addition, he wants students to start a dialogue about these topics and to find the right resources for themselves.
“The amount of support that we have received for this event is something that I won’t forget,” Dominguez said, “It’s so hard getting students to participate at a commuter school and the students have really rallied around this event to offer what help they can give. It has started an important conversation on mental health that we, as students, need to be having.”
Also on October 17, David Romano, will speak from 10:15 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. in H-106. Romano is the founder and sole participant of Bike Across America for Mental Health Campaign, a journey which covers 3,200 miles and 12 states in six weeks to support Active Minds. His presentation is called “It Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me”.
Romano reveals his own experiences in dealing with mental illness and his ongoing path to recovery. By sharing his story he hopes that people will embrace who they are and will support one another in eliminating the stigma attached to mental illness in society. Romano has been a mental health advocate since he was 18 years old. In addition to being a guest speaker for Active Minds, he has collaborated with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Mental Health, Speaking Up For Kids, and Human Relations Media. He is also a social worker at Amberwing, a center for youth and family well-being located in Duluth, Minnesota.
Send Silence Packing at SCC is completely funded by the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation based in Los Angeles. This foundation was formed after the tragic loss of the founder’s son, Matthew Silverman. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those 15-24 years of age. The foundation is dedicated to combating teen suicide and promoting candid dialogue about mental health. Silverman’s passing was not an isolated event and it needs to be talked about. The foundation has funded several Send Silence Packing displays throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.
The event is co-sponsored by the SCC Psychology Department, Active Minds, and SCC Psychological Services. The event will feature displays for Guardian Scholars, Vets Club, SCC Psychological Services, and the SCC Active Minds chapter. Representatives from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, LGBT Center of Orange County, and OC Links will all be present at the event as well. Volunteers for the event will come from Active Minds (national organization), SCC Active Minds Chapter, the psychology department, students currently enrolled in psychology classes at SCC, and Associated Student Government (ASG).
Send Silence Packing was created by Active Minds, Inc., the leading voice for college student mental health in the nation. This organization continues to collect backpacks and stories in memory and honor of those impacted by suicide. The display puts a “face” to lives lost to suicide and shows people a visual scope of the issue at hand. The travelling exhibition is not meant to just change a statistic but to save lives.
For more information about Send Silence Packing or Active Minds at SCC, please contact Emma Breeden at (714) 628-4995 and Breeden_Emma@sccollege.edu.
About Santiago Canyon College
Santiago Canyon College (SCC) serves about 14,000 students each semester. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and careers, and provides courses for personal and professional development, as well as customized training for business and industry. The college is recognized for its adult education program which keeps the working adult - and seniors - in mind by offering flexible schedules, and community locations. Serving the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park, SCC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
About Santiago Canyon College Active Minds Club
Active Minds (www.activeminds.org) is the nation’s premier nonprofit for supporting the mental health of students. Through award-winning programs and services, Active Minds is empowering a new generation to speak openly, act courageously, and change the conversation about mental health for everyone. Active Minds Kognito Challenge, group hikes, and Send Silence Packing are programs Active Minds uses to promote increase suicide awareness, reduce the stigma, and assist students. The Active Minds club at Santiago Canyon College was started in spring 2016. Active Minds is leading a movement to create lasting change within schools, workplaces, and communities through mental health awareness and suicide prevention programs, resources, and education.
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