College of Arts and Sciences

Send Silence Packing April 21

April 20, 2010

MACOMB, IL – A new student organization at Western Illinois University is hosting its first all-University awareness campaign Wednesday, April 21.

Western's chapter of Active Minds, the only national organization using the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses, will line the campus mall with flags and posters evoking students to "Send Silence Packing" concerning suicide and college students, said Cassie Young (Lombard, IL), a senior psychology major and Western's chapter president. A presentation will be held at 3 p.m. on the mall behind Stipes Hall.

Suicide claims the lives of more than 1,100 college students each year, according to Active Minds. The organization was founded in 2001 by Alison Malmon, then a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, one year after her brother, Brian, who was also a college student, took his own life. Malmon knew that many students were affected by her brother's death, but no one was talking about mental health issues on campus. Her goal was to combat the stigma of mental illness, encourage students who need help to seek it early and prevent future tragedies like that of her brother. When she could not find an existing group to bring to campus, she created her own model and formed what was then called Open Minds.

Active Minds (www.activeminds.org), which became a nonprofit organization in 2003, has more than 200 campus chapters and hundreds of thousands of college-age students across the nation advocating to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses.

The WIU Active Minds chapter, in its third semester, is organized through the psychology department; however, it is open to all students, Young said.

For more information, contact Young at CL-Young@wiu.edu.

Posted By: Bonnie Barker, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606