What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
We were sitting in the Active Minds office, brainstorming about why mental health and suicide are still such silent issues, and what we could do about it in addition to creating campus chapters. One of our staff said "backpacks" and immediately, the idea of Send Silence Packing was born.
At Active Minds, we are doing everything we possibly can to let people know about the mental health issues that young adults often face, and what they - both young adults and others - can do about it. We also know that mental health and suicide are inextricably linked, and we cannot talk about one without talking about the other. By promoting an enlightened, supportive dialogue, we are creating environments that encourage early help seeking, and preventing tragedies. It is known that the earlier that help is sought for a mental health issue, the more likely recovery is possible. It is also known that more than 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and that every 18 minutes someone in this country dies by suicide and leaves a large group of family and friends who will never, ever be the same.
Send Silence Packing is Active Minds' jarring way to make the world understand the epidemic we are facing, and stand up and do something about it.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
As the founder and Executive Director of Active Minds, I am technically the social innovator behind this idea - but it is because of the incredible dedication, creativity, and ingenuity of my staff and our student volunteers that Active Minds has been successful and that Send Silence Packing even exists. I majored in psychology and sociology in college, struggling to figure out what I could do with my degrees other than continue to graduate school. It wasn't until I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, just three years after my college-aged brother took his own life, that I realized that I could make my life experiences and passion my work. Upon graduating I spent a few months weighing the options for the small student group I had started on my campus, and decided to grow it as an independent nonprofit organization so that the student voice in mental health truly was never lost. I have dedicated all of my time since graduation to Active Minds, and it has been my full time job since. Though it started in my bedroom in my shared apartment, and I had no salary for the organization's first year, I knew it would be a success. Just six years later, I am so proud of the work Active Minds has achieved, so thankful of the support we continue to garner, and so inspired by the dedication and intelligence of my staff and our volunteers. Though I wish every day that my brother Brian was still with me, I know that through programs like Send Silence Packing and the other projects that Active Minds hosts, we are preventing other than young adults from feeling the loneliness and hopelessness that Brian felt.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company