On-campus suicide awareness display halted due to weather


Sean Reed

A volunteer for the Send Silence Packing display organizing materials in preparation of the early ending of the display at noon on Tuesday in MLK Commons. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

By Sean Reed, Multimedia Editor

DeKALB – A display organized by the non-profit Active Minds, Send Silence Packing,  took place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, featuring over a thousand backpacks spread across the MLK Commons to represent the amount of college students who die by suicide every year. The event was supposed to end at 4 p.m., but was cut short due to inclement weather.

The event has been hosted at NIU two times previously. Backpacks lined the sidewalks as volunteers handed out pamphlets containing suicide prevention resources passersby before noon. Over a thousand total pamphlets were shared, according to Counseling and Consultation Services.

“Active Minds is a national organization that goes around to different college campuses doing Send Silence Packing, trying to break down the stigma of people reaching out for help, getting mental health support and of course, most importantly, preventing suicide,” said Tim Paquette, director of counseling and consultation services at NIU. 

Paquette said that NIU has many avenues for students to turn to when in need of support, including Student Wellness, which falls under the jurisdiction of Counseling and Consultation Services. 

“Whether students are walking in for support, calling to schedule what we call the initial consultation appointment, or if they need immediate support after hours on the weekend, they call our same office number and they can choose to speak with an on-call counselor.” Paquette said. “So, I always want to emphasize that support is available 24/7.”

For NIU students who may be in need of mental health support, Counseling and Consultation Services can be contacted at 815-753-1206, and additional resources can be found on its website

Immediate help for those in emotional distress can also be found through the national Suicide & Crisis Hotline by call or text by dialing 988.