Backpacks Raise Awareness About College Suicide

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EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s not uncommon to see backpacks on college campuses. But, certain backpacks were turning heads today at East Stroudsburg University.

Alicia Burak didn’t know what to think when she walked by hundreds of backpacks on Shawnee Quad. 

“I was a little confused,” says Alicia Burak, junior. 

She took a closer look and realized the backpacks represent people who died from suicide. “I think it’s devastating that this happens, and it does happen everywhere,” Burak adds.

Many of the backpacks feature personal stories of real people who died from suicide.

The exhibition is called “Send Silence Packing’. It’s organized by ‘Active Minds’, a student organization that promotes mental health awareness.

“We’re really just trying to create awareness about this and make sure everyone knows it’s a public health issue that needs attention,” explains Raquel Sosa, President, ESU Active Minds. 

These are donated backpacks, meant to represent the magnitude of college students lost to suicide each year. 

“It’s very meaningful. I personally had a sorority sister whose brother did commit suicide, so it definitely brings empowerment to the campus,” says Alynah Morales, junior. 

Students say this makes them realize it’s important to check on your loved ones. 

“Because sometimes we just get so caught up in different things happening and we don’t notice there are people who are out there suffering every day,” Burak adds.

The backpacks were gone by Monday evening. This is a traveling exhibition, which has made nearly 200 stops since 2008.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month.

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