Login NowClose 
Sign In to ftimes.com           
Forgot Password
or if you have not registered since 8/22/18
Click Here to Create an Account

Send Silence Packing

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

A traveling exhibit on the subject of mental health will be open for the community to visit and experience from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Clinton County Fairgrounds thanks to the efforts of Healthy Communities of Clinton County.

Send Silence Packing is an exhibit created by Active Minds – a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness among college students. Send Silence Packing travels the country, making around 40 stops each year for the more than 10 years now. It displays thousands of backpacks full of personal stories of struggles with mental health.

Send Silence Packing was created with the intent to raise mental health awareness, inspire action toward suicide prevention and connect visitors to mental health resources. Healthy Communities of Clinton County helped bring this exhibit to the area through its Stepping on Stigma movement in the community. The Stepping on Stigma movement started in 2017 with the goal of reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, starting the conversation about mental health, and helping bring much-needed resources to the area. This movement has spurred events such as the Stepping on Stigma Mental Health Awareness 5K, Mental Health Awareness nights during the volleyball and basketball seasons, school programs and now Send Silence Packing.

Among the thousands of stories on display at Send Silence Packing today are some from very close to home.

Rob and Tammy Cooper and their daughters donated a story in honor of their son, Brayton, who lost his battle with mental illness in October of 2016. Members of the Rossville community, the Coopers founded the Buck Up Foundation in honor of their son, and they continue to partner with schools and community organizations to educate others on mental health.

“We will continue to honor our son and educate and talk openly about mental health,” said Tammy Cooper. “One person at a time we will ‘Stop the Stigma.’”

“Buck Up Foundation and the Cooper family have been instrumental in the Stepping on Stigma movement,” said Kathy Martin, director of Operations at Healthy Communities of Clinton County. “Our community has suffered losses of many individuals, including youth. We have lost too many, and it’s time to change and start doing something positive for mental health.”

Healthy Communities’ staff will be on hand throughout the day, along with Active Minds staff, community volunteers and trained mental health professionals. All signs and materials at Send Silence Packing encourage help seeing behaviors, and mental health resources will be available. Send Silence Packing is a free event and open to the community. No registration is required.

“We encourage everyone to come, whether you are touched by mental health directly or not, to experience this exhibit,” says Martin, “Bring your friends and family and let’s end the stigma surrounding mental health.”

Send Silence Packing is brought to its only stop in the Midwest by a proposal written by Healthy Communities of Clinton County through Active Minds and HCCC sponsors IU Health Community Foundation, 4 County Counseling, Community Howard Regional Health, Sycamore Springs and Covering Kids & Families.