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Students Advocate Against Mental Health Stigma

Contributed by: Jake Griffin
Published: Wednesday, 26 August 2015 1:00 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Emily Ambriz, Communications Coordinator

activeminds@bsu.edu

Kevin Briggs, globally acclaimed speaker and author, will windup National Suicide Prevention Week by speaking to Ball State students following the nationally recognized Send Silence Packing Program on Monday, September 14 in Muncie, Indiana.

Send Silence Packing is a program of Active Minds, Inc., the leading national nonprofit organization working to engage students in the conversation about mental health. The powerful outdoor exhibit of 1,100 backpacks sheds light on college student suicide and promotes a healthy dialogue around mental health. To give a “face” to the lives lost, personal stories and testimonies written by families and friends accompany the backpacks. Passersby will be invited to walk among the backpacks and read the stories of those who have died. In addition, Active Minds will hand out literature on mental health, suicide prevention and where to seek help.

Briggs is a former California Highway Patrol officer who spent many years patrolling San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. It is there where he encountered numerous individuals clinging to life by a thread – ready to leap from the bridge in hopes of ending to their pain and suffering. We believe that his personal story of physical and mental health challenges which include recovery, military service, surviving the suicide of a loved one, divorce and depression will be a great complement to the Send Silence Packing Program and this awareness blitz we are preparing for in East Central Indiana.

Active Minds was established in 2003 by Alison Malmon – then a junior at the University of Pennsylvania – after losing her only brother, 22-year-old Brian Malmon, to suicide. In 2014, Jake Griffin chartered Ball State University's Active Minds chapter, which has grown to 65 dedicated #StigmaFighters.

In the first year on Ball State’s campus, Active Minds successfully partnered with progressive causes within our community such as “The Facing Project for Facing: Depression in Central Indiana” and a graduate students project called, Boulevard: a short fictional film aimed at ending the stigma that surrounds mental health that is in production right now.

“For over 10 years, Active Minds has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about mental health and combat the stigma surrounding it, but our work is never over,” said Malmon, now the executive director of Active Minds, Inc. “I’m particularly proud of Send Silence Packing, a powerful visual that really shows how serious of an issue this is on our college campuses.”

For more information or to set up interviews contact Emily Ambriz at erambriz@bsu.edu or 317-640-3004. ###

Active Minds at Ball State University is an officially recognized chapter of Active Minds, the national student mental health awareness and advocacy group based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to increase BSU students' awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, and to encourage to seek help as soon as it is needed. By promoting awareness and education, Active Minds at BSU aims to reduce stigma that surrounds mental illness and create an open environment for discussion of mental health issues.

The purpose of Active Minds shall be to: Increase the campus students’, faculty’s and staff’s, awareness of issues surrounding mental health, symptoms related to mental disorders, and mental health resources available both on campus and in the surounding community.

Visit www.AMBSU.org for more information!

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