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Powerful suicide prevention exhibit open today at Detroit Mercy

Posted at 11:22 AM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 12:33:35-04

WXYZ — Did you know suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students?

The University of Detroit Mercy is on a mission to remove any stigmas attached to mental heath, and create conversations about suicide prevention.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Today, September 16, the university is welcoming you to visit a powerful exhibit called Send Silence Packing.

It was first displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC back in 2008. Hundreds of backpacks are featured -- each one representing the personal story of someone who took their own life, and the impact on their loved ones and friends.

The exhibit is not only for those struggling. "To encourage non-judgmental attitudes toward issues of mental health and maybe toward people who have suicidal ideation or are contemplating it, or maybe most importantly to encourage connection -- more connection, more relationships," explained Dr. Annamaria Silveri, the Wellness Center Director at Detroit Mercy.

The exhibit runs from 10am to 4pm today in Sacred Heart Square on the McNichols Campus in northwest Detroit. That's on the southeast corner of McNichols and Livernois Avenue; the entrance is on McNichols Road.

"We're all living, connected human beings and it takes a whole community of students to encourage and protect each other," Dr. Silveri told 7 Action News.

Dr. Silveri also shared that a suicidal person having just one person they trust and can confide in -- can ultimately save their life.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Remember, if you don't tell anyone you're hurting inside -- people most likely won't know, and they won't be able to help you.

Dial the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you're more comfortable communicating through text, the network features a Lifeline Chat.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, someone dies by suicide every six hours in Michigan. The first step to getting better is understanding that you don't have to struggle alone. Mental health is health, and everyone deserves a chance to feel better.

Lifeline Chat